Top Ten Secrets to Stress-Free
Entertaining from Do It for Less! Parties

For a review copy, sample TV reel, or interview requests, contact

Martha Hopkins
Terrace Partners
2309 Colcord
Waco, TX 76707
254.753.2843 phone
254.753.5350 fax

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Media release pdf
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Author TV clip
Quicktime version (6.8 MB)
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High-res cover jpg (1.5 MB)
High-res author jpg (916 KB)
Sample pages
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table of contents
sample pages 1
sample pages 2
sample menu
sample shopping list
sample recipe spread 1
sample recipe spread 2

7.5” x 9.5”
256 pages
Full color throughout
$19.95 US / $27.95 CAN
Available April 2005


10. Everything looks better in the candlelight of votives. Stock up at the discount store and let them twinkle the night away.

9. Run out of room in the refrigerator? Chill drinks in the washing machine. When the ice melts, just let the water drain. Transfer the icy-cold drinks to the serving area before guests arrive.

8. Hire senior-level prep help from the local tech school or junior college’s culinary arts program. They need the experience and you need the help.

7. Sharpen those knives! Live in a town that doesn’t have a swanky culinary store? Take your knives to the local taxidermist—he’ll know what to do.

6. Organize your shopping list by grocery departments. The few minutes you spend categorizing your list will save you hours in the store. And be sure to take a calculator with you to quickly calculate the appropriate package sizes for your quantity recipes.

5. No time for a 6-layer cake? Create a build-your-own-tart bar. Make shortbread or pie crust cups the week before (or purchase from a local bakery) and freeze until the day of the party. Whip together a bar of cream cheese and a small jar of marshmallow cream for a fluffy sweetness. Arrange bowls with the tart cups, the cream cheese mixture, and fresh fruits like raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and sliced strawberries. Let the guests work their magic!

4. Photocopy all your recipes and tape them to your cabinets. They’ll stay out of the way of the cooking area and hang right at eye level. As soon as you’ve completed each recipe, tear it down and throw it away. By the time the first guest arrives, they should all be long gone.

3. In lieu of expensive flowers for centerpieces, use artisanal boules of bread with long sprigs of rosemary, bowls of citrus fruits (that you can eat the next week) for a bright, summery look, or natural gourds, fall squashes, and pumpkins for an autumn feel.

2. Don’t forget the ice, and buy more than you’d think. Estimate 11/2 to 2 pounds per person. For faster chilling, combine the ice with some water to create an ice bath. Allow a minimum of 30 minutes for chilling in an ice bath, and longer in the refrigerator.

1. Have fun. As they say, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Being invited to a party is a treat, a night away from the stove, something to look forward to and enjoy. So, relax—your guests are happy to be there and you’ll be your own harshest critic.

Do It for Less! Parties is the only guide you need for catering your own event. Packed with more than 65 twice-tested recipes and 9 complete menus, as well as 20 easy hors d’oeuvres you can make in less than 10 minutes, Do It for Less! Parties contains numerous tips, charts, and conversion tables to make the logistics of party-planning a breeze.

The recipes include everything from classics with a twist like Roasted Potato Salad with Dijon Mustard and Chives to world-kitchen favorites like Moroccan Lamb Tagine with Honey and Lemon. Each menu comes with complete shopping lists and a detailed countdown that schedules every component of the preparation down to the last tartlet. Better yet, each recipe and shopping list comes in quantities of 12, 25, 50, and 75, so you can gear your menus to any size event. And that’s just the second half of the book! The first half gives you all the details you need to know before you start cooking. You’ll find sections on everything from arranging a buffet for the most efficient flow and calculating how much ice you’ll need to budgeting the entire event to fit within your means and catering within the confines of the home kitchen.

With 10,000 parties of catering experience to her credit, Denise Vivaldo provides you with an insider’s collection of all the tips she’s gathered and the lessons she’s learned to help you save time, money, and energy when you entertain. You’ll learn how to organize spectacular parties on short notice, apply professional catering techniques to your own event, cook delicious food on a budget, minimize stress on everyone involved, and still enjoy the party.

Denise is the author of How to Start a Home-Based Catering Business, Do it for Less! Parties, and How to Start a Home-Based Personal Chef Business. She has appeared as a guest on numerous national TV shows. She lives in LA with her husband and their two dogs.

Contact Martha Hopkins at 254.753.2843 or for a review copy of Do It for Less! or to book Denise for an appearance.




Denise Vivaldos appears
on ABC's Los Angeles
affiliate KABC

The Denise Vivaldo Group
was featured
on the Food Network's
UnWrapped: Greetings from L.A.

Denise Vivaldo
Television Satellite Media Tour
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