August 14th, 2009 |
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).
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!
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 |
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 |
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 |
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.
August 5th, 2009 |
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)
- In the electric mixer, cream butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat until smooth.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bake cookies for 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool and store in an airtight container.
Recipe via The Cookieshop in English
August 1st, 2009 |
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 |
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 |
It’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
This is a perfect after-dinner activity + dessert rolled into one…enjoy!
Image via Rachael Ray
July 24th, 2009 |
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)
July 22nd, 2009 |
Have I ever told you that I absolutely LOVE zucchini? It is one of those foods that I discovered late in life (like, last year!?!) and now I just can’t get enough of it! My husband isn’t a fan….which means I am constantly trying to slip it into dishes like risotto, vegetable tians, etc. in hopes that he doesn’t realize it until it’s already in his mouth. This yummy treat would be a perfect appetizer for an alfresco dinner this summer!
Grilled Zucchini Roll-Ups with Herbs and Cheese
- 3 small zucchini (about 1/2 pound each), cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1/16 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 1 1/2 ounces fresh goat cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 ounces bagged baby spinach (2 cups lightly packed)
- 1/3 cup basil leaves
1. Preheat grill or grill pan to medium.
2. Discard the outermost slices of zucchini; brush the rest with oil on both sides. Sprinkle the zucchini slices with salt and pepper. Grill until tender, about 4 minutes per side. You can prepare the zucchini a day ahead and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
3. In a small bowl, combine the goat cheese, parsley, and lemon juice, mashing together with a fork.
4. Put 1/2 teaspoon of the cheese mixture about 1/2 inch from the end of a zucchini slice. Top with a few spinach leaves and a small (or half of a large) basil leaf. Roll up and place seam side down on a platter. Repeat with remaining zucchini slices. You can make these up to a day in advance; store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
recipe via health.com