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Food in Ecuador 

Food in Ecuador varies from different Geographical Regions. Coastal Ecuador eats a lot of fish, shrimp, Squid, Octopus and rice !. They eat rice three meals a day ! Potatoes are more of a thing of the mountains , where it is made into a local potato soup.  There is a abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables but its not really much of a staple in the Ecuadorian diet. Maybe a small basic salad, or maybe some carrots in a soup .  Here I will share some of the local Cusine with you. 

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Potuck
The Best Summer Potluck Ideas 

My husband and I entertain a lot here in Ecuador . Its a great way of getting together with everyone once a week and our favorite thing to do is Potluck. Its always fun to do a themed invitation . Sometimes we just do food of a different country. Peru, Russia, Africa , Thiland, Ecuadorian, Colombian, Mexica, Italy . The possibilities are endless and it's always fun to see everyone research and come with their dish. Its great fun and a new way of preparing a party without the hostess doing so much work. Everyone comes with their dish; their beer or liquor and we get down to some serious fun. Our house is pretty popular for these because we have a pool, jacuzzi, outdoor bar for the food and drinks. One thing that I did that was really helpful was I bought all Melamine plates, bowls and serving ware. They are non-breakable so if someone accidently drops one it's not a problem and there isn't glass anywhere. I did the same thing for the silverware, and it's been amazing. I have a big tub outside where I store it, after washing it and its ready for the next Wednesday. I did the same thing for the wine glasses; I bought enough hard plastic ones for a crowd, and I don't worry about someone dropping one or getting glass in the pool or jucuzzi . The best thing is its easy, I don't worry about restocking on anything except napkins and they arent being thrown away and going into a landfill somewhere. 

Summer is the perfect time for outdoor potlucks, where friends and family can gather to enjoy delicious food and pleasant weather. Here are the top 10 outdoor potluck summer ideas with suggested menus for each category:

  1. Grilled Delights: Menu: Grilled chicken skewers, vegetable kebabs, corn on the cob, and grilled pineapple slices for dessert. Don't forget to offer a variety of marinades and sauces for the grilled items.

  2. Fresh Salads: Menu: Watermelon and feta salad, quinoa and roasted vegetable salad, and a classic Caesar salad. Ensure a range of dressings and toppings for guests to customize their salads.

  3. Taco Bar: Menu: Build-your-own taco station with seasoned ground beef, grilled shrimp, and shredded chicken. Provide a variety of toppings like salsa, guacamole, cheese, and sour cream. Offer both soft and hard taco shells.

  4. Chilled Soups: Menu: Gazpacho, cucumber mint soup, and a refreshing fruit-based cold soup. Serve them in individual cups for easy portioning.

  5. Seafood Fiesta: Menu: Shrimp ceviche, crab cakes, and grilled fish tacos. Add a side of coleslaw and mango salsa to complement the seafood.

  6. Mediterranean Feast: Menu: Falafel, hummus, tabbouleh salad, and pita bread. Include stuffed grape leaves and baklava for a delightful, sweet treat.

  7. Picnic Classics: Menu: Fried chicken, potato salad, coleslaw, and fruit salad. Offer some refreshing lemonade and iced tea to quench thirst.

  8. Hawaiian Luau: Menu: Teriyaki chicken skewers, Hawaiian style pulled pork, macaroni salad, and coconut rice. For dessert, serve pineapple upside-down cake.

  9. Farm-to-Table Delights: Menu: Caprese skewers with fresh basil, bruschetta, vegetable platter with homemade ranch dip, and mixed berry crumble for a sweet finish.

  10. International Street Food: Menu: Korean bulgogi, Mexican street corn, Indian samosas, and Spanish churros for dessert. Embrace the diverse flavors from around the world.

Remember to accommodate dietary preferences and allergies when planning the potluck. With these mouthwatering menus, your outdoor potluck is sure to be a hit, fostering a sense of togetherness and culinary exploration. Enjoy the sunny days and scrumptious food!

Make it fun! the ideas are endless from taco night to, Marqurita, Mexican food, we even have had a food of Kentucky night and a soup and sandwich night. If you can think it, you can do it!

My Favorite Melamine dinnerware 
Reusable Silverware 
Keep your food hot with this three section buffet 
Cheese , Condiment Board 
Nashville Tennessee
Favorite Places to Eat in Nashville ,Tennessee
If you ever find yourself in Nashville Tennessee and I do hope that you do.  It's a pretty amazing place for a weekend getaway, or vacation. It's known for its rich music heritage and is often referred to as " Music City" It is especially known for Country music and is home to "The Grand Ole Opry, The Ryman Auditorium and tons of recording studios. It has a Country Music Hall of Fame and museum that showcases the evolution of Country Music. It has exhibits, artifacts and interactive displays.  It's also known for its Food! Southern Comfort Food at Its Finest! You can experience such things as Biscuits and Gravy, Hot Chicken , and some Amazing Barbeque, Nashville also sports the Parthenon located in Centennial Park. It's a full-scale replica of the Ancient Greek Parthenon and serves as an aa a  art museum. It is known as the "Athens of the South. This is not the only museum that it has . If you are a history buff it has numerous historical sites and museums that offer much information and insights about the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement.

List of the Top Ten Restaurants in Nashville, Tennessee 

1. **Hattie B's Hot Chicken**: Known for its delicious hot chicken, this Nashville staple offers a range of spice levels to suit different preferences.

2. **Prince's Hot Chicken Shack**: Another renowned hot chicken spot, Prince's is often credited with inventing Nashville hot chicken. It's a must-visit for those seeking authentic local flavors.

3. **The Loveless Cafe**: Famous for its Southern comfort food, especially its biscuits, The Loveless Cafe is a classic Nashville institution.

4. **Biscuit Love**: A trendy spot offering creative takes on biscuits and Southern breakfast dishes, often with a modern twist.

5. **Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint**: For exceptional barbecue, Martin's is highly regarded, serving up a variety of smoked meats and delicious sides.

6. **Arnold's Country Kitchen**: A beloved meat-and-three establishment, Arnold's is known for its traditional Southern fare and home-cooked meals.

7. **Etch**: If you're looking for upscale dining with a modern touch, Etch offers a sophisticated menu with a range of innovative dishes.

8. **The Southern Steak & Oyster**: As the name suggests, this restaurant combines steak and seafood, providing a taste of Southern flavors with a touch of elegance.

9. **Mas Tacos Por Favor**: For a more casual experience, this taco spot is well-loved for its flavorful and creative taco offerings.

10. **Germantown Cafe**: Located in the historic Germantown neighborhood, this restaurant offers a diverse menu with a focus on fresh ingredients and a contemporary twist on classic dishes.

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Labor Day
Labor Day Party Ideas 

A day to Celebrate the workers, the movers and shakers, the ones that make things happen. A day off to celebrate with family and friends and officially thought of as the end of Summer. Here are some ideas for the perfect get together. I love to do potlucks, here in Ecuador, every Wednesday night is our Potluck night. The theory is start with a theme and delegate a dish to all your guest. No one works really hard, and everyone can just enjoy the time together. If you are like me and do parties often, invest in some Melamine dinnerware. It's perfect, washable, unbreakable and easy on the environment. I put a huge bowl outside and everyone just puts their used utensils and plates inside for washing and clean up later. I also recommend the silverware be reusable as well as the glasses. Later on, I will share my favorite decorating ideas for each theme as well as my preference in dinnerware, utensils, and glasses.  Usually on my invitations I also add bring your favorite beer to share or your favorite wine. Easy is the theme, more time together and not overwhelming for anyone especially the hostess.

**1. Taco Bar Extravaganza**

Spice up your Labor Day gathering with a tantalizing Taco Bar. This interactive dining experience allows your guests to customize their tacos to their heart's content. Provide a variety of fillings such as seasoned beef, grilled chicken, and black beans for the vegetarians. Set out an array of toppings like shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sour cream, guacamole, and a variety of cheeses. Don't forget the salsa options ranging from mild to fiery! With a Taco Bar, your guests can mix and match their favorite ingredients, ensuring everyone leaves satisfied.

**2. Build Your Own Hamburger Adventure**

A classic Labor Day barbecue is a surefire way to celebrate the holiday in style. Elevate the experience by setting up a Build Your Own Hamburger station. Offer a selection of freshly grilled patties, both beef and veggie, alongside a variety of buns. Provide a spread of condiments including ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, pickles, onions, and an assortment of cheeses. Guests can assemble their burgers to their taste, making this idea a crowd-pleaser that caters to all palates.

**3. Soup and Sandwich Buffet**

If you're looking for a more relaxed and cozy atmosphere, consider hosting a Soup and Sandwich Buffet. Prepare a range of hearty soups like tomato bisque, chicken noodle, and broccoli cheddar, and pair them with an array of freshly baked bread and rolls. Allow your guests to craft their perfect sandwiches using various deli meats, cheeses, and an assortment of spreads. This warm and comforting option is perfect for a laid-back Labor Day gathering.

**4. Weiner Roast with S'mores Galore**

For a rustic and outdoorsy Labor Day party, embrace the nostalgia of a Weiner Roast with S'mores. Set up a bonfire area where guests can roast their hot dogs over an open flame. Provide an assortment of toppings and buns to create the perfect hot dog. After the savory delights, treat your guests to the sweetness of S'mores – graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate bars – for a true campfire experience that'll bring out the kid in everyone.

**5. Fish Fry Fiesta**

If you're fortunate enough to have access to a grill or outdoor cooking setup, a Fish Fry is an excellent way to celebrate Labor Day with a coastal twist. Offer an array of freshly caught or store-bought fish, seasoned and grilled to perfection. Accompany the fish with a variety of side dishes such as coleslaw, hushpuppies, and crispy fries. This seafood-inspired feast is a unique and delectable option for a Labor Day gathering.

Remember, make it fun, you can be surprised how creative your guest can be and make it a day or relaxation and fun!

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Hotpot
How To Plan A Hot Pot Party 
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My very first experience with a Hot Pot Party was with my friends Alan and Jan here in Ecuador. I had absolutely no idea what a Hot Pot party was but wow we were all in for a treat . A Hot Pot party, also known as a steamboat gathering or shabu-shabu, is a social dining experience popular in many Asian countries, particularly China, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asian nations. It's a communal meal where friends and family come together to cook and enjoy a variety of ingredients in a simmering pot of flavored broth at the center of the table. Here's how it typically works:

1. **Preparation**: A hot pot party starts with the preparation of a flavorful broth, which can be plain, spicy, or various other flavors depending on personal preferences. Common broths include chicken, pork, seafood, or vegetarian options.

2. **Ingredients**: A wide assortment of raw ingredients is provided for participants to cook in the broth. These can include thinly sliced meats (beef, pork, lamb, chicken), seafood (shrimp, fish, scallops), tofu, mushrooms, leafy greens, noodles, dumplings, and various dipping sauces.

3. **Cooking Process**: A portable electric or gas stove is usually placed at the center of the dining table with the pot of simmering broth on top. Diners take turns adding their preferred ingredients into the pot to cook. Cooking times vary depending on the ingredients, with thin slices of meat and seafood typically taking only a few seconds to cook. Each person can customize their own dipping sauces using condiments like soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, chili paste, and more.

4. **Communal Dining**: Hot pot is a social and interactive meal. Participants sit around the table, chat, and cook their ingredients to their desired level of doneness. It encourages sharing and conversation as everyone reaches into the pot to retrieve their cooked food.

5. **Eating**: Once the ingredients are cooked to your liking, you can retrieve them from the pot and dip them in your chosen sauce before eating. The process continues until everyone is satisfied and full.

Hot pot parties are not only about food but also about bonding and socializing. They are popular during cold weather as the steam and warmth from the pot add to the cozy atmosphere. Additionally, hot pot allows for a wide range of dietary preferences, making it suitable for vegetarians and meat lovers alike.

These gatherings are highly customizable, with participants choosing the broth flavor, ingredients, and condiments to suit their tastes. It's a fun and interactive way to enjoy a meal with friends and family while exploring a variety of flavors and ingredients.

Hot Pot Party ,
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Fall Chili bar
Some of the most fun Fall Parties are the easiest ones. One main dish and few side dish and just a bit of planning is all that it takes to have a stress-free fun Fall, Superbowl Party.  Why Chili? Well, it's a great Fall comfort food, great for cooler weather and easy to make. You could even it make vegetarian chili with the meat on the side so everyone could make their own version of the perfect bowl of chili or multiple slow cookers of chili including white chili.  Your imagination is the limit 
This is a fantastic way to bring friends and family together for a delicious and interactive dining experience. Whether it's a casual get-together or a festive celebration, a chili bar allows guests to customize their meals to their liking. To ensure your chili bar party is a hit, we've compiled five essential suggestions to make your event memorable and mouthwatering.

1. **Diverse Chili Selection:**
   - Start by offering a variety of chili options. Traditional beef chili, vegetarian chili, and white chicken chili are excellent base options. Ensure there's a mild, medium, and spicy version to cater to different tastes.
   - Label each chili type clearly, and provide a brief description of its flavor profile and ingredients. This helps guests choose the ones that suit their preferences.

2. **Toppings Galore:**
   - Set up a toppings station with an array of options for guests to customize their chili. Include shredded cheese, diced onions, sour cream, diced tomatoes, chopped cilantro, sliced jalapeños, and crushed tortilla chips.
   - Don't forget to offer gluten-free and dairy-free toppings to accommodate dietary restrictions.

3. **Side Dishes and Accompaniments:**
   - Complement the chili with a selection of side dishes. Cornbread, garlic bread, or tortilla chips make excellent choices.
   - Consider offering a fresh salad or coleslaw to balance the richness of the chili and add a refreshing element to the meal.

4. **Beverages and Desserts:**
   - Provide a variety of beverages, including soft drinks, water, and perhaps some flavored iced teas or lemonade.
   - Cap off the meal with a sweet treat. Brownies, cookies, or a dessert bar with various toppings like hot fudge and whipped cream can be the perfect ending to a chili-filled feast.

5. **Decor and Ambiance:**
   - Set the mood with appropriate decor. Use chili-themed decorations such as chili pepper banners, tablecloths, and chili pepper centerpieces.
   - Create a cozy atmosphere by placing candles or string lights around the serving area. Consider using mason jars or chili cans as candleholders for a rustic touch.

Don't be afraid to task your guest with bringing a desert, a pitcher of beverages to share, or some of the side items. Its aall about coming together and having fun. 
   

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