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)

August 15th, 2011 |

Tomato Terrine

I absolutely love this time of year: Tomato season.  The time has come where I can’t walk out of Whole Foods without a dozen colorful, grungy-looking tomatoes because they just look that.good.  When my friend’s kids are digging tomatoes out of their little vegetable garden and handing them out like their candy, and when I start exploring for simple, new ways to use them.

If you are looking for some of my old favorites, you can check out posts here, here and here.  “Tomato Fest” is always a fabulous excuse to throw a party this time of year.  I came across this tomato terrine recipe on Bon Appetit and I.can’t.wait.to.try.it!

August 9th, 2011 |

Red Sangria

This morning I shared my favorite white wine sangria recipe from Food Network, and now I am back with my favorite red version!  Delicious and easy to make, this one comes from Emeril Lagasse.   Both are perfect for a summer cocktail party….which is your favorite?

Ingredients

  • 2 bottles chilled dry red wine, like Rioja
  • 1 cup brandy
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup superfine granulated sugar
  • 2 oranges, cut into thin rounds
  • 2 Meyer lemons, cut into thin rounds
  • 3 Key limes, cut into thin rounds
  • 2 apples, cored and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 2 cups cold club soda

Directions

In a large pot or bowl, combine the wine, brandy, orange juice, and sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the orange, lemon, andlime slices, the apples and refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour. Remove from the refrigerator and add the soda. Serve in glasses over ice.

August 9th, 2011 |

White Sangria

Good Morning, Everyone!  Charynn here from Two Sugar Babies.  Since Kelly is dreaming of a party based around a Sangria & Tapas theme, I figured I would chime in with my favorite sangria recipes!

I got this a.maz.ing recycled glass pitcher for my birthday and i’ve been dying to use it. sure, traditional lemonade would be “okay,” but i definitely found a better solution…sangria!  Here is my favorite recipe for White Sangria from Michael Chiarello of Food Network….head back later today to see my favorite Red!

Ingredients

  • 3 bottles pinot grigio
  • 1 1/2 cups brandy
  • 3/4 cup orange liqueur
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 orange, thinly sliced
  • blood orange, thinly sliced
  • 3 kumquats, sliced
  • lime, thinly sliced

Directions

In a large pitcher, combine the wine, brandy, and orange liqueur. Pour in the sugar, stir or shake the pitcher thoroughly to mix. Add all citrus slices at once. Allow the mixture to sit for 1 hour before serving to allow the citrus flavor to come through.

August 8th, 2011 |

Party Ideas: Sangria & Tapas Party

Sangria and tapas are two of my favorite things.  Mix them together and you have the key components for a fabulous summer party! Perfect for a cocktail party, Spanish tapas can range from bite-size finger foods to skewered delights. These small-plate dishes are perfect for a crowd and are meant to be shared.

Pottery Barn has a fabulous party plan for hosting a party….you can check it out here.

August 2nd, 2011 |

Beat the Heat with 4 No-Cook Dishes

It has been SO HOT here lately!  In the upper 90′s every single day, and I am doing everything I can to avoid cooking!  My husband is getting pretty annoyed with the “lets go out tonight” comment he receives when he walks in the door after work – so I decided it was time to find some delicious, no-cook recipes that might help carry my dinner meal plan thru the end of the summer.  Williams Sonoma has a fabulous selection of them!  Top on my list: caprese salad, sonoma succotash salad, avocado, tomato and bacon tartines, and heirloom tomato gazpacho.

July 27th, 2011 |

Drinks in the Garden

Looking for a unique way to serve drinks in the garden this summer?  This moss-covered tray is perfect for serving up lemonade in mason jars!  Simple, pretty and oh, so charming!

Image via The Knot

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