March 3rd, 2010 |

Trend Alert: Mouthwatering Macaroons!

macaroons

Macaroons are crisp on the outside and smooth and soft in the middle, and are on the hot list of what to serve at your next event. Available in so many different colors, you can customize your desserts to coordinate with your party.   Ladurée is famous for their assortment of macaroons, and with each new season they pays tribute to their most famous creation by creating a new flavour.  (see the list below for mouthwatering flavors!)

Feel like whipping up a few of these petite cakes yourself?  Head over to Bakerella for step by step instructions.   If you’re not up for making them yourself, you can purchase them at Williams-Sonoma, Sugarbloom Cupcakes, and Holy Sweet.

-Sharnel, My Life My Loves

Images: macaroon pops (bakerella.com), orange macaroons (amyatlas.com), pink macaroons (cannelle-vanille.blogspot.com), macaroon favor and wedding cake (marthastewart.com), box of macaroons (laduree.fr)

February 24th, 2010 |

Teeny, Tiny, Mini….Darling Mini Cupcake Stands

You all know my obsession with cupcakes….I mean, what’s not to like?!  Bite-size cakes decorated to the nines….nothing beats that!  A special cupcake deserves a fabulous presentation.  If you agree, then these will be right up your alley!  Mini cupcake stands by Rosanna….they come in 4 colors (pink, yellow, mint and white) and are beautiful alone or grouped together.  (so cute for Easter, by the way!)  By far, my new favorite product in my OpenSky shop!

February 24th, 2010 |

Modern Cupcake Design

I wanted to share one of my new product obsessions with you: Ticings, thin sheets of edible icing printed with contemporary designs using food-grade inks.  They are made in the u.s.a., gluten-free, FDA approved and kosher certified.  Best when applied to fresh buttercream frosting; just peel and press to give your cakes and frosted desserts modern decorations in minutes!  They are offered in multiple designs (for large orders, you can also request a custom design!) – and are such a simple way to dress up your cupcakes!

Tip: They would also be darling on round sugar cookies!  Wrap them up in a cellophane bag, and voila!  You have yourself a pretty cute party favor!

February 17th, 2010 |

Purple Dessert Table

Since purple seems to be the trend today….I thought this beautiful dessert table sent to me by Shauna Younge was the perfect fit!  Shauna Younge Dessert Tables is a high-end dessert buffet design firm in Minneapolis. Each dessert table incorporates beautiful, delicious sweets and meticulous details.  As you can see from this example…exquisite work!

This particular table featured a chic, grey cake with floral details to mimic the bride’s beaded Monique Lhuillier gown. Two macaron towers were used to create a beautiful backdrop for hand-painted grey truffles, gourmet marshmallows, and custom cookies.

This is a great example of how you can spin the color purple into a very sophisticated color palette, perfect for a wedding or special event.  I love that Shauna paired the shades of purple with grey.  It’s a sophisticated neutral that is getting a lot of play time recently!

Images via Tricia Little of Sweet Shibui Photography

February 16th, 2010 |

Tartan Dinner Party

tartan dinner party ideas

These late winter months always have me at a bit of a loss when it comes to setting a pretty table for a dinner party.  I mean, what I am really craving are bold, Spring colors, fresh flowers, and light dishes.  But when there is 10 inches of snow on the ground….that concept just doesn’t look right!  One of my go-to ideas for February is the use of tartan plaid.  A lot of people tend to only use tartan plaid around the holidays….but I think it’s a warm accent to use throughout winter.  Try using a plaid runner or napkins at your next dinner party!

And although I am totally craving those light, Spring-like dishes….I made a warm, yet delicious meal of herb-crusted beef medallions, mashed potatoes with bacon and garlic, and cranberry martinis.  If you are looking for some menu inspiration, definitely check out those recipes!

What ideas are getting you thru these long winter months?!

February 12th, 2010 |

Mardi Gras: A Fat Tuesday Feast

mardi gras fat tuesday recipes

Fat Tuesday is coming up!  (Tuesday, February 16th)  Here are some fabulous recipes to help you host your own Mardi Gras feast!

Jazz fest cocktail, cajun corn maque choux, citrus-marinated shrimp with louis sauce, shrimp and chicken etouffee, fried crawfish salad, king cake and buttermilk beignets.

February 9th, 2010 |

Valentine’s Day Treats for your Sweets!

valentines day sweet treat recipes

If you are still searching for a sweet recipe to make for Valentine’s Day, Better Homes and Gardens has tons of ideas!  Here are a few of my favorites: Chocolate pistachio heart cookies, tiny raspberry cheesecake tarts, red velvet cupcakes, sparkling sorbet floats, cherry baby cakes, and a chocolate cherry stack cake.

February 4th, 2010 |

Chili: Styled with a Twist

If you plan on making chili this weekend for the big game, check out this idea:

Serve up smaller portions (perfect for snack food or an appetizer) by scooping out the center of a dinner roll, and filling it with chili and toppings to create a mini-bread bowl.   Too cute, right?!

If you are looking for some chili ideas….check out our post on a chili cook-off.  Great ideas, great recipes….perfect for a cold, winter weekend!

Image via My Recipes

February 2nd, 2010 |

Super Bowl Sunday: Brunch with the Girls

super bowl brunch party ideas

Super Bowl Sunday is a great opportunity to entertain.  Some may want to gather friends for a traditional party, serving beer and appetizers, and others…..well, they may want to run for the hills at the first sound of a Super Bowl party.  Hey…it’s okay if football isn’t your thing…I totally get it!  If you are one of these girls, and your husband is going to be occupied with the game and some male-bonding on Sunday, take this opportunity to entertain a bunch of girls!  (football-free, of course!)

Brunch is a great activity for Sunday morning.  It’s an easy meal to prepare, very little prep-work involved, and your guests are in-and-out, and you go about your day!  So, let’s talk brunch….

Set a simple table.  White dishes, a patterned napkin, and maybe a little vase of spring flowers on the table.  Serve up a picture of bloody mary’s, and have a bowl of fresh berries for people to pick at while sitting around chatting.  Brunch wouldn’t be complete in my mind without eggs benedict.  Switch things up by serving a killer tomato benedict (tomato, pesto, roasted peppers and hollandaise sauce…..YUM!), and an apple-citrus salad with avocado and bacon.  It’s light, fresh and delicious!

If you are looking for another finger-food option, consider putting a new twist on deviled eggs:

I love the idea of putting a fresh spin on this old favorite!  Serve up a couple different variations, and serve them on small appetizer plates, or 3 in a row on a rectangular-shaped plate.  Try an asian-inspired version,  or a three-herb recipe…..just remember, it’s all in the presentation!

Images: invitation (tinyprints.com), dishes (williams-sonoma.com), place setting (projectwedding.com)

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January 28th, 2010 |

Pretty Pears

Sunset Magazine has a great feature on pears this month.  Light, refreshing and perfect for an early Spring party, these recipes will add a nice new assortment to your repertoire!  They offer up 6 ideas (and each one is more irresistible than the other!):

Pear Sidecar
This sweet (but not too sweet) drink should be made one at a time in a cocktail shaker. Energetic shaking and a proper drink-to-ice ratio ― possible only in a shaker ― are key: The ice dilutes and softens the “edges” of the cocktail, encouraging the otherwise sharp flavors to meld together.

Caramelized Pear and Sage Crostini
Sweet pears and sharp blue cheese create an exciting yet homey appetizer. Serve them with the pear sidecar cocktail (recipe precedes), sparkling wine, or a slightly sweet white wine.

Braised Pork with Pears and Chiles
The gentle heat of the dried chiles is highlighted by the sweet pears, which become soft and a bit savory while cooking in the pork juices. With a side of greens, this is one of our favorite fall dinners.

Asian Pear, Fennel, and Walnut Salad
The quality of the walnuts can make or break this dish, so be sure to taste them first (farmers’ markets are an excellent source of fresh nuts; store in the freezer after buying).

Pear Upside-Down Cake
A rich flavor and soft crumb made this cake a favorite in our test kitchen.

Pear Sorbet
Light and refreshing, this sorbet is a delightful way to end a heavy meal. If you want to serve sparkling wine with the sorbet, choose one that’s sweeter than the one in the sorbet.

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