August 17th, 2009 |

Raspberry Lemonade

Raspberry Lemonade

I found this almost-too-pretty-to-drink recipe at Kiss My Spatula….and I just had to share it with you!  It’s the perfect summertime drink….and it’s non-alcoholic.  So it’s the perfect drink to serve at a baby shower, or a child’s birthday party.


Raspberry Lemonade

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2-3 large, juicy lemons)
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 4 cups cold water
  • whole raspberries
  • mint leaves

Method

Press raspberries through a fine mesh strainger over a bowl with a rubber spatula. Don’t forget to scrape the extra raspberry goodness from the bottom of strainer. Discard seeds. Place freshly squeezed lemon juice, sugar, and honey in a large pitcher. Add strained raspberries and water. Stir well and taste. Add more sugar if you like things a little sweeter or more lemon juice if you like things more tart. Pour into chilled glasses filled with ice and garnish with fresh raspberries and a few mint leaves.

August 14th, 2009 |

Dinner Party: Straight Off The Grill

dinner party grill

We love entertaining at home, so I am always looking for new recipes and creative ways to set my table.  I think this dinner party invitation from Minted sets the tone for a casual, yet polished evening.  Setting the table is easy for me during the late summer months.  Sunflowers are in bloom and they are my favorite!  They just scream festive to me!  Tie the sunflowers idea into your placecards too.  You can create this festive, colorful place setting by simply using a sunflower stamp on a basic white placecard.  I think the napkin fold is really pretty…..see below for the instructions (click on the image for a bigger view).

sunflower napkin roll

Now, in terms of food…..I love dishes that are simple, yet full of flavor and style!  These grilled mushroom kabobs look delicious to me!  I found this recipe on Cully’s Kitchen.  I’m a sucker for barbecue chicken…and this recipe for grilled chicken with white barbecue sauce has been calling my name for a while now.  Perfect for a summer dinner party!  Now for dessert….it’s summer, so fruit must be involved!  Try to mix it up a little by trying something new like a goat cheese and fruit tart.  Not only does it sound delicious, but look at it!  Any guest would be oh, so impressed!

goat cheese and fruit tart

What are some of your favorite dinner party ideas?  Have a recipe to share….have a table setting idea….leave a comment and share your ideas with us!

Images: invitation (minted.com), sunflower centerpiece (inmagine.com), napkin roll (via Napkins with a Twist), table setting (horchow.com)

August 11th, 2009 |

Surprise Giveaway: The Best Summer Drinks Winners

Thanks to everyone for entering our giveaway for The Best Summer Drinks book…..you guys are very creative…there are some great party ideas here!  But, since we had to choose two winners…..

Lindsey who said….

“Several of my my friends are pregnant and have yet to find out the sex of the baby. I would love to throw a Team Blue – Team Pink party for one of them to reveal the sex of the baby. Some cute pink and blue drinks would be an awesome touch!”

and Erin who said….

“I first want to tell you that I love your website. I look at it everyday for inspiration or ideas for upcoming parties, dinners, and everything else in between.
I am planning on throwing a accessory swap party. I saw it Rachael Ray Magazine a while back.

I think it would be so cute to turn you home into a little boutique. A great reason to clean out my closet and to do some “free” shopping!”

Congratulations, Girls!  Send your addresses over e-mail and I will ship these darling books out to you!

August 7th, 2009 |

Surprise Giveaway: The Best Summer Drinks Book

The Best Summer Drinks Giveaway

Okay, gang….this is a fun one!  I just received the most darling book….The Best Summer Drinks by Ray Foley, the publisher of Bartender Magazine.  It’s an adorable, tiny book jam-packed with cocktail and appetizer recipes (500 to be exact).  This book would make the perfect hostess gift (it’s only $4.99!).

So, here is where the fun part comes in….

Like I mentioned above, this book offers 500 cocktail recipes – but the names of these cocktails are hysterical!  The Cape Codder, Love Bite, Grape Hopper….the list goes on.  These cocktails could definitely inspire the theme for a party!  Seeing as though we are in the last month of summer, I know you are all cramming in at least one last summer bash.  Leave a comment here telling us what type of party you are hosting (or want to host) this summer….the more creative the better!  We’ll randomly choose 2 winners that will each receive a copy of The Best Summer Drinks.  Contest starts NOW….ends Monday, August 10, 2009 at midnight pst time.

Before I leave you for the weekend…..here is the recipe from the book that I will be trying out for brunch on Sunday:

Go Green, Be Mary

By the way, how cute would this drink be for a bridal shower for a girl named Mary?!

1 1/2 oz. 360 vodka

3 1/2 oz. bloody mary mix

2 dashes tabasco

Squeeze lemon wedge

Celery stalk for garnish

Lemon wedge for garnish

Pour liquids into a glass, garnish with the celery stalk and lemon wedge and serve.

August 6th, 2009 |

Party Idea: Marshmallow Mania

marshmallow mania recipes

I have been seeing recipes for marshmallow desserts all over the web lately!  Here are a few recipes that I think are party-ready:

1. Vanilla-Flavored Homemade Marshmallows

I found these over at Rosa’s Yummy Yums – they look as cute as I bet they taste!  These would be adorable for a child’s birthday party.

2. Mint-Marshmallow Mousse Cake

Check this minty dessert out at Eat My Cake Now!

3. Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies

Three words: Chocolate.  Marshmallow.  Peanut Butter.  Need I say more?!  Find this delicious recipe at Tartelette.

4. Flavored Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies

The yummy cookie….but done in flavors!  Find the recipes for orange, hazelnut, cherry coconut, and hazelnut and frangelico-flavored cookies over at Test with Skewer.

5. Marshmallow-Chocolate-Peanut Butter Torte

Okay….my mouth is watering a little bit more with each picture!  This looks like it’s to die for!  Check it out at Lemonpi.

6. Homemade Mallows (with pretty pink frosting!)

I love the hot pink frosting on these!  So festive and I bet they taste delicious!  Try this take on the classic from Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy.

Happy Baking!

August 5th, 2009 |

Playdate Playdough

playdate playdough

Playdate activities….it’s always an endless search for something new and exciting that will keep the children occupied long enough for the mothers to enjoy a cup of coffee!

Playdough.  It’s an activity that all kids enjoy.  But spice it up a bit.  Make playdough cookies!

Same concept: make a batch of dough, dye it different colors, and let the kids build shapes with it.  The only difference, is that you bake the shapes and voila!  Not only did the kids have fun, but you have colorful cookies to enjoy as a treat!

This would make a great activity for a child’s birthday party, too!

Play Dough Cookies

The original recipe proposes cookies in lollipop form, but have your kids get creative and create cookies in all different shapes. Just be careful to bake similar sized cookies at a time. Besides their super cute looks, these really delivered tastewise – they are sugar cookies after all, with a pleasent crumbly texture from the cream cheese.

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • assorted colors of paste food coloring
  • 24 lollipop sticks (optional)

  1. In the electric mixer, cream butter, cream cheese and sugar until  light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat until smooth.
  2. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Stir till soft dough forms. Divide dough into fourths. Tint each with a different food color. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Working with half of each color, shape dough into 3/4 inch balls and for each cookie place 1 pink, 1 green, 1 blue and 1 orange (I used red, yellow, blue and green) ball together to make 1 large ball. Shape into a 12 inch long roll (like a snake), starting at one end, coil roll to make a 2 3/4 inch round cookie. Place cookies 3 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheet. Carefully insert lollipop sticks into bottoms of cookies.
  4. Bake cookies for 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool and store in an airtight container.

Recipe via The Cookieshop in English

Back to School at The Land of Nod

August 1st, 2009 |

Edible Cocktail: Sangria

Edible Cocktail Sangria

I found these delicious looking treats over at Big Red Kitchen.  Edible cocktails.  Jello shots.  Whatever you want to call them, they are so fun….I must try them at my next party!  Festive, colorful, and perfect for an evening of outdoor entertaining.  I bet a few of your guests may even squeal with delight when they see them as they recall the jello shots of their past.  Don’t let these childhood-like treats fool you, they have a bite and will sneak up on you if you have a few too many.

Edible Cocktails: Sangria
1 3/4 cups Reál Sangria
1 1/2 cups Limeade
3/4 cup Cointreau
4 packets Knox Gelatine – one whole box
zest of one lime for garnish

Mix the first 3 ingredients in a small sauce pan. Add Knox and let sit 3 minutes until gel softens. Turn on heat to medium and heat for a few minutes until gel is completely dissolved, no need to boil or get very hot. Pour into a 9 inch square pan that has been lined with plastic wrap. Chill covered overnight. To unmold, turn cocktail over onto a cutting board, remove plastic wrap and cut into 36 equal sized pieces. Top each piece with a small bit of lime zest. Place on pretty tray and serve immediately. Makes 36 pieces.

Tips on Making Edible Cocktails
1. Before adding the Gelatine, taste the cocktail first and adjust flavor if needed.
2. Keep chilled at all times! These will dissolve into puddles if not kept cold. Mine got soft on the car ride over to the party, which a quick trip to the freezer fixed them up just fine, but oh the puddle they made in my lap on the warm car ride home!
3. Remember the ratio to turn your favorite cocktail into an Edible Cocktail- one packet (7 grams) Knox Gelatine to every 8 ounces (240 ml) of fluid. More Gelatine will make the cocktails even more firm if necessary.

Be creative and have fun!

July 29th, 2009 |

Summer Cocktail: Orange Spritzer

Orange Spritzer

Here’s a fabulous spritzer that’s great for a warm afternoon spent picnicking on the grass. Make it with either orange juice as directed, or with frozen lemonade.

  • 1 cup Campari
  • 1 liter mineral water
  • 2 cans frozen orange juice concentrate
  • orange slices

Mix all ingredients in a pitcher and serve over ice. Makes 12 servings.

Recipe via Bloom.acious

July 27th, 2009 |

Dessert: Make-Your-Own-Tart Bar

make your own tartIt’s no secret that I absolutely L-O-V-E dessert!  Chocolate, cookies, candy…..and tarts……lots, and lots of tarts!  So I am pretty much obsessed with this idea….I can’t wait to have a party just to try it out!

Instead of making one large tart to serve as dessert to your guests, set up a “make-your-own-tart” dessert bar.

What type of ingredients should you use, you ask?!  Well…here are my thoughts:

  • Mini Tart Shells (store-bought or homemade)
  • Lemon Curd
  • Whipped Cream
  • Sliced Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries

This is a perfect after-dinner activity + dessert rolled into one…enjoy!

Image via Rachael Ray

July 24th, 2009 |

Marshmallow Fondue

marshmellow fondue

Try this idea at your next party…..marshmallow fondue!

Perfect for kids, fun for adults!  All you need is a bowl of melted chocolate, a bag of marshmallows, and a bunch of sprinkles for toppings!

Image (via inmagine.com)

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