March 21st, 2013 |

CARROT TABLETOP + DESSERTS | EASTER

easter tablesetting with carrotsWith Easter just a little over a week away, I have been thinking about our Easter brunch tablesetting.  My sister is due with her first child THIS WEEK, so we are anticipating that we’ll be doing brunch at home this year (vs years past when we would go out for brunch).  When it comes to Easter, I have a love of carrots.  And bunnies.  But definitely carrots.  I think it’s really the pop of orange that I love!  Do you remember this carrot centerpiece from last year?!

bunny salt and pepper shakers from pottery barnI put together this Easter brunch tablesetting for the Spring issue of The Party Dress Magazine, using some white basics, and pops of color that I am so craving these days.  I set the table with a white eyelet tablecloth and then layered it with my woven charger plates and basic white plates.  I combined a solid orange napkin with a green and white striped napkin, and tied a bunch of straw carrots to it with twine.  An egg placecard (personalized with glitter – post coming next week!) was nestled on top of the napkin.

Each placesetting was accented with a bunny cupcake stand from Pottery Barn, holding a carrot-topped cupcake.  To add texture to the floral centerpiece, I filled the vase with white eggs, and also used pewter bunny salt & pepper shakers.

carrot placesetting horizontalTo carry out the carrot theme, I used gummy carrots from candywarehouse.com as a topper on basic, store-bought cupcakes.  Do you love the green glass plate from Pottery Barn they are sitting on?!

carrot cupcakes for easterForgoing the traditional jelly beans, I served up candy that looked like peas and carrots (also from candywarehouse.com).

peas & carrots candy for easterStay tuned later today for a creative idea for Easter cookies!

carrot desserts for easterorder a copy of the Spring 2013 The Party Dress Magazine

March 15th, 2013 |

EASTER BUNNY FONDANT TUTORIAL

fondant easter bunny tutorial from lynlee's petite cakesI’m starting to think about Easter around here….the pastel colors, the little touches of Easter eggs and bunnies are starting to creep onto the tables and it’s just the breath of fresh Spring air that is needed right about now.  I’m thrilled to share a darling tutorial with you today from Lynlee of Lynlee’s Petite Cakes.  Do you remember the bunny push-up pops from the Easter party Lynlee styled for the magazine last Spring?  They took the web by storm, and this year, we talked her into sharing ideas with you for creating a fondant Easter bunny that could be used in push-up pops, or on top of cupcakes.  The step-by-step tutorial she provided for the Spring 2013 issue of The Party Dress magazine is simple enough that even I am going to try it!

fondant easter bunny tutorial

Materials Needed:

white, pink and black fondant  |  rolling pin  |  large and small leaf cutters  |  round tip (in this case, Wilton tips 12)  |  modeling stick and knife tools  |  food safe brush and water  |  raw spaghetti  |  white soft gel paste & toothpick  |  push up container, crushed Oreos & chocolate pudding

Roll some white fondant into a ball and shape the top narrower with your fingers.

Roll out white and pink fondant and cut out two each with large and small leaf cutters respectively. Use water to glue pink over white and indent with modeling stick. Insert small piece of raw spaghetti into ears and glue into the head.

fondant easter bunny tutorial

Roll out pink fondant and use larger tip to cut out a circle. Pinch one side and use the knife to indent the other side to create a heart and glue onto face. Roll out black fondant, cut out two small circles for the eyes. Utilize the toothpick to dip into white gel paste and “dot” the eyes.

Roll two small white fondant balls for the hands. With the knife tool, make three indentations for fingers. Turn it upside down and make an indentation with the modeling stick. Place on push up container to mold.

Fill push up container with pudding and crushed Oreos and finish it off by adding the bunny head and hands! You can vary the ears and eyes so the bunnies are looking in different directions.

fondant easter bunny push up pops

Simple, right?  And oh, so charming!  Thank you, Lynlee, for sharing this darling tutorial with us!

To order your copy of the Spring 2013 The Party Dress Magazine, click HERE.

 

 

March 13th, 2013 |

CLOVER QUICHE for ST. PATRICK’S DAY

clover quiche for st. patrick's dayWith St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Sunday this year, it’s a great opportunity to either host a brunch or surprise your family with a little themed breakfast!  I love the idea of this clover quiche recipe from Diamonds for Desserts.  SIMPLE to reproduce, and who doesn’t love a little spinach quiche?!

Click over HERE for the recipe and full instructions.

February 20th, 2013 |

OSCAR PARTY FOOD | CHOCOLATE POTATO CHIPS

oscar party snack: chocolate covered potato chipsI’m always looking for a new decadent treat to try, especially when I have a captive audience for something fun, like an Oscar viewing party! These chocolate-covered potato chips from Spoon Fork Bacon have been on my to-do list for quite some time now.  I think Oscar Sunday might be the perfect time.  And I’m guessing they will be a hit.  I mean, how could they not?  It’s chocolate.  On potato chips.  The perfect combination of sweet + salty.

Although the “recipe” is pretty self-explanatory, there are a few great tips over on Spoon Fork Bacon’s blog.  You can check them out here.  What do you think?  Are you up for it?  Have you tried this before?

February 6th, 2013 |

Mardi Gras Macarons for Fat Tuesday

mardi gras macarons dessert for fat tuesdayHere in Chicago, Mardi Gras is one of those “wish-we-were-closer-to-celebrate, but-we-are-too-buried-under-the-snow” type of holidays.  It always looks so fun and festive and is something to look forward to during the bleek winter months.  If you are in the mood to celebrate, or just looking for an excuse to throw a themed dinner party, we have ideas for tablesettings, decor and food here and here.

I came across these festive Mardi Gras Macarons from Sprinkle Bakes and just had to share them for you.  They are the perfect treat for Fat Tuesday!  Colorful and they even have a little baby hidden inside them!  You can find Sprinkle Bakes’ recipe and tips for making the perfect macaron here.  Enjoy and Happy Baking!

January 16th, 2013 |

GAME-CHANGING APPETIZERS

superbowl food ideasSuperbowl is coming up and that means everyone is looking for new appetizer ideas.  Here are three of my new favorites (or rather, new spins on old favorites) that I found while scouring the web. With universal appeal, these will appeal to guests young and old.

Mac & Cheese Cups

This is a brillant idea!  Bake your favorite mac & cheese recipe (or store-bought) into mini muffin cups to create individual servings. For the recipe, click here.

Football Pizza

Always a fan of a homemade pizza, I love the idea of creating a football topping using pepperoni.  See the recipe and instructions here.

Football Calzones

Party City came up with this darling idea.  You could make mini calzones using a football shaped cookie cutter.  See the instructions here.

 

 

December 3rd, 2012 |

White Chocolate Mocha Fudge

The holiday issue of The Party Dress Magazine brought quite a few tasty treats for this season, including this White Chocolate Mocha Fudge recipe from Firefly Confections.  As you can see, this fudge would make a FABULOUS holiday gift for teachers, neighbors or friends & family.  Read on for Sandy’s exclusive recipe:

Chocolate Mocha Layer

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

1 – 5oz can of evaporated milk

2 tbsp butter or margarine

¼ tsp salt

1 ½ cup mini marshmallows

1 cup (6oz) chocolate chips

1 ½ tsp vanilla

1 tbsp espresso powder

Lightly grease 8×8 inch pan. Cut a piece of parchment to fit with a 2 inch over-hang on either side of the pan and lightly grease the paper, set aside. Combine sugar, milk, butter and salt in a med. Saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Boil 5 minutes stirring constantly. Remove sauce pan from heat stir in mini marshmallows until melted and mixture is well blended. Add chocolate chips, espresso powder & vanilla stir until mixture is smooth. Stir for 6 minutes or until slightly thickened. Immediately spread mixture into prepared pan.

White Chocolate Layer

Substitute white chocolate ships for regular chocolate chips and follow directions for chocolate fudge. Immediately pour over chocolate fudge and spread using a lightly greased rubber spatula. Cool in the refrigerator for about 2hours then sprinkle the top with espresso powder OR cocoa powder and cut into squares. Store in the refrigerator, in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Packaging resources: white boxes (shopsweetlulu.com), gingerbread sticker (whhostess.com)

For more Holiday Entertaining Ideas, visit the latest issue of The Party Dress Magazine:

buy a printed copy   |   read the digital copy

 

November 14th, 2012 |

Pinterest Party: Thanksgiving Entertaining Ideas

Last night, we held our first of six Holiday Entertaining Pinterest Parties and we kicked it off with Thanksgiving Entertaining Ideas. Wow, was it so much fun!  Kelly and Kim from The TomKat Studio joined forces with some of the top party + entertaining bloggers to pin inspiration for your holiday celebrations.

We were joined by Vana (Le Papier Studio), Charynn (Two Sugar Babies), Chris (Celebrations at Home), Jessica (Pen ‘n Paperflowers), Kori (Paper & Pigtails), Kim (The Celebration Shoppe), Carrie (Half Baked – The Cake Blog), Maddy (Somewhere Splendid) and myself on behalf of cupcakeMAG.

In one hour, we had almost 250 pins and plenty of ideas for table decor, food, cocktails, ideas for kids and so much more. For those of you who may have missed the party, I thought I would round-up a few of my personal favorites. Click below to see them on the board.

give thanks mantel

mini pumpkin pies

fun thanksgiving table

Make sure you head over and follow the Thanksgiving Entertaining Ideas board and stay tuned for details on our next pinning party on November 20th. The theme is Merry Metallics and so far, it is looking very pretty! Head over and follow the board now. We’d love for you to be part of it!

 

October 31st, 2012 |

Use up that Halloween Candy!

Happy Halloween, Everyone! The Party Dress team wishes you all a happy and safe holiday…..we hope you have a great time today with your family!  I’m here today to give you a quick dessert idea for tonight after trick or treating (or later this week!) that you can make with your kids.

After the initial excitement over Halloween Candy fades (or the kids pass out while coming down off their sugar high), grab some of their mini candy bars, chop them up and mix them into your traditional chocolate chip cookie batter.  Twix bars, Snickers, M & M’s….no need to discriminate!

October 24th, 2012 |

Witch’s Hat Cupcake Topper

I just love this creative cupcake topper idea from Carrie at Half Baked – The Cake Blog!  Follow her simple steps to make these witch’s hat cupcake toppers for your Halloween party:

1. Grab a regular sized cupcake liner. Fold liner in half. Fold in half again, creating a pie-like wedge. Tape the two flaps together using double-sided tape, so that you have one solid triangle.

2. Fold in half again. Tape again. Now you should have a tall skinny wedge that is 1/8 the size of your original circle. If your liner is now a flat triangle due to folding, fluff it up with your finger so that it makes a cone.

3. Insert a toothpick into your cupcake and place your cone on top of the toothpick. This is the body of your hat. The toothpick will help your hat stay in place.

4. Grab a mini cupcake liner. Cut a hole in the middle of the liner. I found it easiest to do this by folding it in half and then cutting out a ‘C’ shape on the folded edge. Open up liner and slightly flatten with your hand for the brim.

5. Slide the brim down over your cone to complete the hat. Smush and crinkle to add character. Bend the tip of the hat, if desired.

 

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