June 2nd, 2011 |
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 |
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.
- Strawberry Chiffon Pie
- Strawberry Italian Ice
- Fresh Strawberry Bars
- Strawberry Cheesecake Tarts
- Minted Strawberries with White Wine
- Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cakes
- Fresh Berry Napoleons
- Puffy Shortcakes with Meringue
May 26th, 2011 |
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
- 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
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
- 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
- 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.
May 12th, 2011 |
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 |
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!
- 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
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.
April 29th, 2011 |
Event Planner, Beth Beattie, sent me over these pictures from a recent Cabana Lunch she planned for a client. My still-cold-in-Chicago-self was drooling over them, wishing I was sitting oceanside! But then the party planner in me kicked in and I saw this amazing salad bar vessel that Beth had made for the event. It’s genius! And I knew I had to share it with you! Here are a few details from Beth:
Guests were greeted with mango margaritas and each received a beach bag full of goodies – towel from Restoration Hardware, bag from Z Gallerie, magazine, sunscreen, Trish McEvoy cosmetic bag, chapstick from Tammy Fender and a few other miscellaneous items. The table setting was orange polka dot plates an rattan chargers atop the tribe table with seagrass stools from Bubble Miami. Flowers were assorted peonies, Gerber daisies and roses by VM Flowers. Lunch was presented in the custom salad bar followed by assorted sorbets catered by Christafaro’s.
April 26th, 2011 |
I’m a sucker for Mexican food (especially since so much of it is based around corn products….which works nicely with my gluten-free lifestyle!), so when Cinco de Mayo comes around, I like whipping out a few new recipes to celebrate with friends! Food Network has a great collection of recipes hand-picked by their celebrity chefs, and these are four that are on my radar for next week:
April 14th, 2011 |
These creative ideas from Better Homes and Gardens have me wanting to run out to the store to get eggs to dye!
April 13th, 2011 |
Monday, we showed you the table setting details from our preppy mod baby shower feature from The Party Dress Magazine, and today we are back with the detail shots of the color-coordinated dessert table! We created this tablescape with a combination of white and glass cake stands, apothecary jars and platters.
Our custom designs were placed on couture cookies by Allyson Jane, a f-a-b-u-l-o-u-s fondant cake topper by Two Sugar Babies and cupcake toppers (which we used on lemon bars!). Coordinated candy jar tags, food tent cards and signage help to brand the party and give it a very special look.
April 8th, 2011 |
Anyone hosting a party this weekend?! I shared one of my favorite entertaining ideas in the first issue of The Party Dress Magazine….a stunning mimosa bar! You can step up the style at your next cocktail party or brunch with a colorful mimosa bar
full of flavor and garnish options. They are simple to set up and offer the hostess a stunning, yet hands-off method for serving a crowd. Simple touches, like a striking centerpiece or interesting linens, can make your table unique.
Create a balance of containers around one grand centerpiece to create this symmetrical look. Square, cube vases in varying sizes were used to hold the champagne bottles on ice and fruit garnishes. Oil cruets are used to house the various fruit nectars, and color-coded tags helped to identify and brand the table further. Add a few rows of flutes and voila!
Do you like the drink tags?! Well, it’s your lucky day! Click HERE for a free download to use at your next party.