September 28th, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Fall Hostess Gifts

I must get 5 e-mails a week of readers asking for unique hostess gift ideas.  It’s the standard dilema that we all run into at the start of a new season….what type of gift is unique, useful and thoughtful?!  Charynn and I each came up with our go-to hostess gift for the Fall season and presented them in the Fall issue of The Party Dress Magazine, and we are sharing them here today….

My go-to gift is a small basket of goodies – a fabulous bottle of wine (this St. Supery Chardonnay happened to come from my recent trip to Napa), a bouquet of fresh sunflowers, and a box of goat milk caramels from Williams Sonoma (along with a hand-written note, of course!)

Charynn, being the cupcake lover that she is, loves to bring a box of homemade cupcakes as a hostess gift.  I love that she took the time to dress up a paper box – it makes it look extra special.  She braided yarn to get this chunky look, and then made a few flowers out of felt that she had sitting around her house.  The project took less than 10 minutes and turned out SO darling!  (you could duplicate this idea on any time of gift!)

Speaking of cupcakes….have you been following the cupcake spy posts on Two Sugar Babies blog lately?  It’s full of fabulous insider information to the best cupcake shops in different cities around the country.  Check it out!

September 27th, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Fried Green Tomatoes

We’re back with another recipe from Delish owner, Maggie Hemsworth.  Fried green tomatoes….have you ever had them before?  I had not, not really sure why, the opportunity had just never presented itself.  Let me tell you, after sampling this at our photo shoot, I have actually had dreams about them.  {and I am only partially embarrassed to admit this}  YOU.MUST.TRY.THIS.RECIPE!

Fried Green Tomatoes with Goat Cheese and Tomato Jam

6 hard green tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick

Kosher salt and black pepper

Freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk

1 cup yellow cornmeal

2 cups Japanese panko bread crumbs

Vegetable oil, for frying

Tomato Jam (see recipe epicurious.com)

¼ pound goat cheese

Slice the tomatoes into ¼” slices. Season with salt and pepper. Pre- heat oven to 200°. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Place the flour in a shallow bowl, the buttermilk in another and the flour and cornmeal (stirred together) in a third bowl. Take a slice of tomato, coat in flour (shaking off an excess), dip in the buttermilk, then coat with the breadcrumb/cornmeal mixture.  Place on a plate and repeat the breading steps with the rest of the tomato slices. Heat ¾” of oil in a skillet to 350°.  Cook tomatoes on each side until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Remove with a slotted spoon, place on the baking sheet. Keep in the oven until all the tomatoes have been fried. Top with a piece of goat cheese and a dollop of tomato jam.

September 27th, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Sweet Corn Bruschetta

Delish Catering Chicago owner, Maggie Hemsworth created for exclusive recipes for the Fall issue of The Party Dress Magazine.  I personally tasted each one of these and let me tell you, these will become your new go-to party foods for Fall.  First up today is the sweet corn bruschetta…..

Sweet Corn Bruschetta with Honeyed Mascarpone

6 ears fresh corn

8 oz mascarpone

1 TBSP honey

2 TBSP chopped chives

Extra virgin olive oil (about ¼ cup)

Loaf of french bread

Salt and Pepper to taste

Place the cleaned ears of corn in a pot of boiling water and cook for 12 minutes. Remove and allow corn to cool down.  When cool, cut the corn off the cob and mix the corn with 4 tbsp olive oil and chives.  Add salt and pepper to taste. While the corn is cooling, cut the French bread in ¼” to ½” thick slices.  Brush each side with olive oil.  Place in the broiler and toast each side about 3 minutes each.  Watch closely because the bread can burn quickly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Mix the mascarpone and honey together. Spread the mascarpone mixture on the crostini and then top with the corn mixture.

September 26th, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Popcorn Bar

It’s been so fun highlighting all of the articles from the latest issue of TPD Magazine….and today is no different!  We are showing off the details of a fabulous Popcorn Bar designed by Jessica Kirkland from Pen ‘n Paperflowers.  Here are the details from Jessica….

The idea of an interactive Popcorn Bar came to me as I was preparing a slideshow/movie to watch for a Family Reunion I would be attending. The family movie was going to be shown at a family member’s home with 5 acres of property, horses and a gorgeous pool as the backdrop for the slideshow. I decided I wanted to create something kid-friendly and fun to go along with the movie and I needed it to be easy as far as food preparation for 50+ people. A rustic-style Popcorn Bar was just what I needed!!
My intentions were to create an interactive popcorn bar that would allow everyone to personalize their bags of popcorn. By selecting a seasoning (or two) as well as offering a few candies and peanuts to throw in the mix, this option allowed everyone to get creative and ultimately cater to a large array of popcorn palettes.

As a fun, special element for the children, I offeredcaramel popcorn balls I ordered from Kernel Encore and served them up on The Pastry Pedestal™.

In my research, I visited a local popcorn vendor, Kernel Encore, intending to choose three different flavors of popcorn for the popcorn bar. After more research, I decided to do the most simple, and cost-effective thing: I pre-ordered 10 bags of fresh, already popped popcorn from my local grocery store. I then ordered an array of popcorn seasonings, (Kettle Corn, Apple Cinnamon, Nacho Cheddar, White Cheddar, Ranch, Chili Lime, and Caramel) and a butter spritzer from Kernel Season’s website.
I also added another interactive element to the popcorn bar by creating a fun, simple game called “Mystery Popcorn Flavors”.  I ordered 5 different ”Sampler Bags” of unusual flavored popcorn from Kernel Encore. (Salt & Vinegar, BBQ, Watermelon, Peanut Butter and Taco).  With each of the flavors in a separate numbered basket, I challenged everyone to sample them and offered a prize to the person to guess all five flavors correctly.

The food preparation couldn’t have been more simple and I believe everyone had fun serving up their own snacks in preparation for the movie. A popcorn bar is such a versatile idea allowing for so many different creative avenues to choose from. With Fall just around the corner,  a rustic Popcorn Bar would be so fitting for any of your upcoming events. Just add a couple of pumpkins to the display or a few bales of hay and you’re ready for that Fall Festival or Thanksgiving dessert table you’ve been fretting over.

 

September 23rd, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Spider Web Glass

Simple, festive Halloween details can bring an instant party to something as simple as a glass of milk!  Shown in the latest issue of The Party Dress Magazine, this milk glass was dressed up with strips of black electrical tape.  Easy to put on, and easy to take off!  You could also expand this idea for ghost eyes, a monogram or stripes!

September 21st, 2011 |

DIY Tutorial: Cake Ball Cake

I hope you all enjoyed today’s post on the Mod Fish baby shower featured in the latest issue of The Party Dress Magazine!  Did you notice the darling cake that stole the show on the dessert table?  I’m sure you are curious what those balls or “bubbles” are….candy, gumballs…..nope!  They are cake balls!  And I am back this afternoon with a simple do-it-yourself tutorial, so you too can try this for your next event.

Trying to carry the “bubble” theme throughout our fish party, Charynn and I contacted Velvet Cream Bakery to create cake balls in varying shades of blue.  They delivered a stunning amount of {delicious} cake balls, and Charynn quickly got to work on figuring out the best way to attach them to our two-tiered cake.

Step 1

Gather your supplies: cake (covered in fondant), toothpicks, cake balls, and a cake topper (if desired)

Step 2

Starting from the bottom up, insert your toothpicks about 1 inch from the bottom of the cake, about 1.5-2 inches apart (depending on the size of your cake balls).  Repeat with the darkest blue all the way around the cake.

Repeat each row atop one another, with the color blue getting lighter each row.

Step 3

Once you cover the entire cake in rows of cake balls, create a circle of the lightest color balls on the top of the second tier.  This creates the perfect spot for a cake topper.

Step 4

Insert your cake topper.  We used fondant fish and bubbles on wire from Two Sugar Babies.

 

September 16th, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Cupcake Tips from a Pro

When it comes to selecting articles and features for The Party Dress Magazine, we try to combine gorgeous party inspiration with helpful tips from professionals.  This issue, we asked Jill from Modern Cupcake to provide us with some of her go-to tips for baking the perfect cupcake.  She came up with this:

  • Use a professional thermometer to check your oven temperature.
  • Allow your cupcakes to cool in the pan for approximately 5 minutes before placing them on a cooling rack.
  • Use an ice cream scoop for placing the batter in your baking pan. This provides a uniform look every time!

Jill is owner of the web-bakery and blog, Modern Cupcake….where she dishes up daily inspiration on everything from cupcakes to design.  Most recently, she was named Martha Stewart’s Dreamer of the Week!  Check out Jill’s blog for more inspiration….and look forward to more baking ideas from Modern Cupcake in the Holiday issue of The Party Dress Magazine!

Photography by Sierra Studios Photography

September 14th, 2011 |

Tailgating Food Ideas

The darling tailgating party from Fresh Chick Designs featured on the blog this morning (and in the latest issue of The Party Dress Magazine) have left me with football on the brain….as well as the looming question, “what to serve for our next football gathering?”

Whether you are watching the game from the sidelines or gathering friends at home, some simple, cozy snacks can make the game that much more fun!  I went to two of my go-to entertaining resources for ideas, Better Homes and Gardens and Country Living, and here is what I will be serving up this weekend:

1. I love the idea of serving simple snacks such as pretzels, chips, crackers and nuts in individual brown bags – a totally rustic, yet functional way of compartmentalizing them!

2. Mini BLT sandwiches:  They are cute and round.  Need I say more?

3. Salted Golden Caramel Bars: I am a sucker for rice crispy treats (naturally gluten-free for me!), but add in sea salt, caramel and chocolate?!  I may even root for overtime if it means I can eat more of these!

4. Chunky Tomato Salsa: I always like to have a couple of dip options readily available, and this chunky salsa option is on my list to try.

Images via Better Homes and Gardens and Country Living

August 31st, 2011 |

Cakes with Personality

These cakes have SO MUCH personality.  I just had to share them!

Image via Style Me Pretty

August 22nd, 2011 |

Back-to-School Treats: Apples

It’s back-to-school time around here this week, and you know what that means….time to dig out some apples to bring to your child’s teacher.  Instead of the always-appreciated, healthy fruit this year, how about starting the year off with a bit of a sugar rush?!  I love these creative ideas for sweets that look like apples. Cookies, cupcakes, and even red rice crispy treats!  What’s your favorite treat to bring to teachers?

Images: apple rice crispy treat (gourmetmomonthego.com), apple cookies (hellonaomi.com), apple cupcakes (parents.com)

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