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Cover of Pretty Fun
Title: Pretty Fun, Creating and Celebrating a Lifetime of Tradition

Author: Kate Hudson w/ Rachel Holtzman Photographs by Amy Neunsinger

258 pages; Hardcover

Publisher: Dey St. an Imprint of William Morrow / Harper Collins NY NY

Price $26.99 US $33.50 CN

Reviewed by Chef John Vyhnanek
Winter, spring, summer or fall and it's time for you to host a party. Not just any party but one that is really special. Where are you going to turn to for ideas...the Internet? Oh come on, you can do better than that!

Winter Menu SuggestionsIt's as easy as one, two, three; Kate Hudson's new entertaining guide just hit the bookstore shelves just in time for the holiday season. Yes, Kate Hudson the acclaimed actress wrote"Pretty Fun: Creating and Celebrating a Lifetime of Tradition". Kate shares her memories of family gatherings and gives you tips on how to create festive and fun parties. She'd rather call a party a gathering and enjoying the company of the people who matter the most.

Planning your gathering can be stressful; invitations, rentals, decor, food, beverages and entertainment all need to be addressed. Kate has suggestions all through the book, especially helpful and fun ways to control the cost of your event.

There are some recipes scattered amongst the pages, but remember that this isn't a's a guide to entertaining and a good one at that! Kate also shares some pretty cute pIans on how to get your kids involved. After all they are included in the group of of people who matter the most.

How about a Taco night gathering? Kate has suggestions on how to succeed and even shares a recipe that fits right into the event. How about a Father's Day celebration, a Holiday Cookie Cook Off, a Tea Tasting garden party or a festive new year's eve bash? They're all in this book and so many more for your winter, spring, summer or fall gathering with family and friends!

The quality of the pages is impressive because of their heavy weight. Beautiful and well balanced photographs really give you the feel that Kate wants to share. Plus there are nice flower drawings on random pages that lend a feel of happiness!

Good Cooking likes this book, it's good reading, has fun ideas and shows one how to be successful as a party host without breaking the bank. Great pictures increase the enjoyment of it and give insight to what she is saying. All in all she gives due credit to her mother, father and mother's mother, her grandmother, for her appreciation and knowledge of good cooking.

Here are two recipes from the book...

Veggie Chili
Veggie Chili, pg.75

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 medium sweet potato or 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tesapoon chipolte chili powder
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3/4 cup (6 ounces) tomato paste
3 cups vegetable broth
1 15.5 ounce-can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15.5 ounce-can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 14.5 ounce-can diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained
1 14.5 ounce-can diced tomatoes
1 7 ounce-can chipolte chiles in adobe sauce, with the chilies chopped and sauce reserved 2 limes, cut into wedges, for serving

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion, bell peppers and sweet potatoe or carrots and cook, stirring ocassionally, until the vegies start to soften and even get a little brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add cumin and chili powder, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the spices are fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste and cook, while continuing to stir, until the paste turns a deep red, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the broth, beans, tomatoes, chipolte chiles, and reserved adobe sauce. Stir, making sure to scrape up all those yummy brown bits at the bottom of the pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes or until the liquid has reduced slightly. Adjust the seasoning to your liking and serve each bowl with a good squeeze of lime over the top.

Grapefruit-Jalapeno Mezcal PunchGrapefruit-Jalapeno Mezcal Punch, pg. 223

1 cup honey
3 jalapenos, halved lengthwise
4 cups grapefruit juice
2 cups mezcal
2 cups club soda
1 grapefruit. sliced thin, for garnish

In a small pot, combine the honey and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil while stirring, until the honey is fully dissolved. Add the jalapeno and let the mixture boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let the syrup cool completely. Strain the syrup and set aside.

In a large galss punch bowl, combine the grapefruit juice, mezcal, and club soda with 1 cup of the simple syrup. Taste and adjust the flavor to your liking, adding more syrup, mezcal, or juice if necessary. Garnish with grapefruit slices. Serve the punch over ice.