June 27th, 2011 |

Center Court Brunch

I am very excited to welcome Charynn of Two Sugar Babies as a new contributor to The Party Dress!  Since she is one of my go-to-girls for party inspiration (especially food!) and someone I bounce ideas off of on a daily basis, I knew she would be a great addition to the TPD family.Oh how I love Wimbledon…I get goosebumps every time I hear the music announcing the start of television coverage (yeah, I know…). Attending a match on center court is on my bucket list. But since that might not happen for a while, how about hosting a party to watch a match or two? To serve, I found a lovely selection of recipes online that are dedicated to food traditionally found at WimbledonPimm’s Cup (a traditional British summer drink), Eton Mess (a lovely take on Strawberries and Cream), and Scones with Jam and Clotted Cream (a personal favorite of mine). Enjoy!

June 27th, 2011 |

Game. Set. Match.

Since we are on a bit of a Wimbledon kick today, I thought I would show some creative ideas for a tennis-themed dessert table.  This darling table was designed by LouLou Events for a birthday party.  The star of the dessert table was the tennis court made of a wood frame and green m & m’s.  Footed bowls of chocolate “tennis balls” and mini tennis ball cookies from Libby from Polka Dot Cookies completed this table.  It’s such a simple, unique idea….perfect for players young or older (er)!

June 23rd, 2011 |

Parties by WH Hostess: Francesca’s Bake Shoppe II

I hoped you enjoyed the details of Francesca’s Bake Shoppe birthday party this morning!  I’m back now with all of the yummy details of her “bake shoppe” cookie dessert table.  First, let me start off by saying that when I initially helped Francesca’s mom come up with the concept/plan for this table, I never imagined it would turn out THIS CUTE!  The stand itself was made by Grand Soirées Event Design & Coordination, with a custom stripe fabric awning.  The front was decorated with a coordinating pennant banner that said “bake shoppe”.

Gallon cookie jars were accessorized with coordinating paper liners, cookie jar tags and ribbon, and each held a different type of cookie.  French macaroons, chocolate-covered {with pink polka dots} oreos, sugar cookies in the shape of “1″, jam-filled cookies and more…..  Wooden tongs were placed in front of each jar for easy serving.  To give the back row of cookie jars a boost up, and give the table a new dimension, a moss-covered riser was placed in the center and held both the jars and a DARLING tiered cake.

Guests went home with take out boxes full of cookies and the kiddos also took home a tin of bubbles {accessorized with a custom label}.  I love how she tied in the moss from the dessert table by lining her lucite trays with it!

Photography by Nicole Parker

June 8th, 2011 |

Mini Banana Splits

Can you say DELISH?!  I was pouring over Bon Appetit’s website last night looking for some recipe ideas for an upcoming party, and low and behold, I found what I think will be my “hot, new dessert” for summer…..a mini banana split!  Naomi from the blog, Bakers Royale, is responsible for this darling idea.  She takes one-inch slices of bananas and coats them in chocolate and sprinkles. Then she scoops out the centers, fills them with ice cream, and tops them with a dollop of whipped cream and a cherry. It’s the perfect miniature take on the soda fountain classic!

Read More http://www.bonappetit.com/blogsandforums/blogs/badaily/2011/06/mini-banana-splits.html#ixzz1OePZGZtj

June 3rd, 2011 |

{Lightbulb Idea!} His & Her Cocktails

I came across this picture while swooning away over one of Salt Harbor’s latest weddings.  It was like a lightbulb went off above my head…..his and her signature cocktails!  It’s totally charming, and somewhat genius….and would make the perfect addition to a wedding or special birthday party.

So….if you and your significant other had to choose a cocktail, what would it be?!

June 2nd, 2011 |

Sweet Teacher Gift Idea

With this school year rapidly coming to a close, it’s time to put your thinking cap on to come up with a unique gift for your little ones to bring their teacher.  I love this idea from Family Fun – package homemade truffles in a simple white box.  You can dress it up by drawing lines on the lid of the box to look like handwriting paper, and then have your child write their teacher’s name on it.

Cute and Yummy!  Click here for the recipe.

May 27th, 2011 |

Sweet Strawberry Desserts

With strawberry season in full bloom, I find myself looking for creative ways to use them…..and my sweet tooth immediately directs me towards dessert recipes!  Since so many people tend to make berry pies for Memorial Day weekend, I figured I would supply all of you with some of my latest finds.

  1. Strawberry Chiffon Pie
  2. Strawberry Italian Ice
  3. Fresh Strawberry Bars
  4. Strawberry Cheesecake Tarts
  5. Minted Strawberries with White Wine
  6. Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cakes
  7. Fresh Berry Napoleons
  8. Puffy Shortcakes with Meringue

 

May 26th, 2011 |

Salsa Bar

Looking for a simple way to “wow!” your guests at a Memorial Day BBQ?!  How about a salsa bar!  Set up a variety of different types of salsas (and guacamole if you really want to get fancy!) with one large bowl of chips.  Your guests can mix and match flavors to their liking.  Here are a few suggestions for salsas:

1. Watermelon Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 3 cup(s) finely diced seedless watermelon (from a 5-pound watermelon)
  • 2  jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • juice of 2 limes
  • Salt

Directions: In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except salt. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and serve chilled or at room temperature with tortilla chips.

2. Corn Salsa

Ingredients

  • 1 (15 ounce) can yellow corn, drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can white corn, drained
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 bunch finely chopped cilantro
  • 5 green onions, finely sliced
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 avocado – peeled, pitted, and diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, or to taste

Directions: Stir the yellow and white corn, black beans, tomatoes, cilantro, green onion, red onion, bell pepper, and garlic in a large bowl. Gently mix in the lime juice and avocado. Drizzle with olive oil to serve.

3. Citrus Salsa

Ingredients

  • 3 navel oranges
  • 2 limes
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon seeded and minced serrano chile
  • 2 teaspoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions: With a sharp knife, remove the peel and white pith from oranges and limes and discard. Cut the orange and lime segments from the surrounding membranes and coarsely chop.  Gently toss the oranges, limes, cilantro, chile, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl until combined. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

 
Fresh Party Invitations from Minted

May 12th, 2011 |

Flower Power Cupcakes

With Spring in full bloom here in Chicago, these cupcakes caught my eye!  All You Magazine has come up with three simple ways to dress up basic cupcakes to look like flowers using cookies, gummy candy and jelly beans.  I think these would be darling for a garden party birthday party, or a summer bridal shower.  Click here to find the how-to’s.

May 5th, 2011 |

Polenta and Eggplant Stack

I’m always on the look-out for gluten-free recipes….especially ones that look mouth-watering good!  This polenta eggplant stack from Woman’s Day looks absolutely delicious and will be tested out in my kitchen this evening!

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small eggplant (8 oz), halved, sliced (3 cups)
  • 3⁄4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 small zucchini (8 oz), sliced (2 cups)
  • 1⁄4 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1⁄4 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 1 tube (16 to 18 oz) ready- to-heat polenta, cut into 8 slices
  • 1 large plum tomato, cut into 8 slices
  • 1⁄2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
  • 1 cup marinara sauce, heated in microwave
  • Garnish: chopped fresh basil

Directions

Heat 1 of the oil in a large, deep nonstick skillet. Add eggplant and onion. Cover and cook over medium-high heat 4 minutes, stirring a few times until slightly softened.  Add 1 tsp of the remaining oil, the zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cover and cook 6 to 7 minutes, stirring often, until vegetables are tender. Remove to bowl; wipe or rinse skillet.

Heat remaining 1 tsp oil in skillet. Add polenta; cook 2 minutes over medium-high heat until bottoms are golden.  Turn off the heat, turn polenta and spoon the vegetable mixture onto polenta (it’s OK if some falls onto the skillet). Top each with 1 slice of tomato and sprinkle with cheese.

Place the skillet over low heat; cover and cook 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Top with basil, if desired, and serve with sauce.

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