June 28th, 2009 |

Citrus-Infused Water

Citrus Infused Water

Okay….summer is hot!

And as much as we all love a good cocktail, glass of wine or cold beer during a summer BBQ….sometimes it’s just too hot!

Picture this scenario: You are hosting a BBQ on a hot,  sunny day, and suddenly your guests are asking for a glass of water.  Water?!  Water is so boring, right?  WRONG!  Infuse your water with slices of lemons, limes, strawberries and bunches of mint.  Not only will your guests be delighted by how delicious it tastes….they won’t stop talking about how pretty it looks!

June 28th, 2009 |

Baking a Small Garden

Mini Flower Cupcakes

We baked mini flower cupcakes for dessert for the party….they turned out so cute, I just had to share them with you!

June 27th, 2009 |

Serve it on Ice!

Watermelon Cooler (images.meredith

Is your silver drink bucket a little too fancy for your summer picnic?!  I love this idea…..cut off the top third of the watermelon (could be a straight cut, but I L-O-V-E the curved out version in the picture), and carve out the insides.  Fill with ice, stick in your wine bottles and voila!

Image (betterrecipes.com)

June 26th, 2009 |

Dinner for Three

Dinner for Three

My brother-in-law is visiting us this weekend – so it’s dinner for three tonight!  Me and two boys?!  Let’s just say they don’t appreciate the fuss I typically put into a dinner party!  So this dinner is going to be low on design but high in flavor.

If there is one thing I know they both appreciate, it’s homemade pasta…..so I am going to make capellini with fresh tomatoes and basil.    So simple to do:

Ingredients:

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 lb. plum tomatoes, seeded and diced

1 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 lb. dried capellini

Directions:

In a large nonreactive bowl, combine the olive oil, tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper, and stir until blended. Set aside.

Bring a large pot two-thirds full of water to a boil over high heat. Add salt and the pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente (tender but firm to the bite). Drain the pasta, add it to the tomato sauce and toss to mix. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Divide the pasta among individual bowls and serve immediately. Serves 4.

recipe via Williams-Sonoma

June 21st, 2009 |

Watermelon Sangria

Watermelon Sangria

Ingredients

• 1 bottle dry white wine
• ¾ cup watermelon schnapps
• ½ cup white cranberry juice
• 2 cups freshly scooped watermelon balls
• 2 limes, cut into half-wheels

Directions

Combine all of the ingredients in a large ceramic or glass container and stir well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Serve over ice. Serves about 7.

Recipe via PointClickHome.com

June 20th, 2009 |

Dessert: In A Cone

dessert-in-a-coneMake dessert your easiest course with this simple idea from Rachael Ray:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • Grated peel and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 pound fresh cherries, halved, plus 10 whole for garnish
  • 1 pint mixed berries (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries)
  • 6 ounces milk or dark chocolate
  • 20 sugar cones

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and the lemon peel. Mix well and refrigerate.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the halved cherries and mixed berries with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Refrigerate.
  3. Break the chocolate into small pieces and place in a microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high, 20 to 30 seconds at a time, until the chocolate just starts to melt. Stir until smooth. Using a pastry brush, paint the inside of the cones with the melted chocolate. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until the chocolate hardens, about 15 minutes.
  4. To serve, stand the sugar cones in narrow glasses. Place a dollop of the sour cream mixture in each cone, then fill with the mixed berries. Top with another dollop of sour cream and garnish with a whole cherry.

Quick Tip

Try skinny shot glasses or Champagne flutes to help the sugar cones stand upright!

June 19th, 2009 |

Dinner at the Beach

Dinner at the Beach

Dinner at the beach….isn’t that what summer is all about?!

If you have a beach house, the “dinner at the beach” is easy enough!  If you don’t live near water, invite some friends over for a casual summer dinner alfresco this weekend (with a beach theme, of course!).  Create a casual, yet put-together outdoor space that will have your friends toasting your inner “Martha Stewart!”  Set up a sitting area complete with the typical comforts of an indoor living room – pillows, lanterns with candles to create some mood lighting, a bowl of flowers or fruit on a table – make it an extension of your home.

Serve dinner on your patio table – no linens necessary, just a centerpiece of fresh flowers or pots of grass to give it that casual, beach feel.  Add a special touch to your place setting by tying a personalized tag to a starfish, and slip it into your napkin.  Make sure to add  some votive candles or small lanterns to your centerpiece to give an additional glow.

I’m always looking for new dishes to try…..top of my list for this weekend?!  Coconut shrimp with lime, served with Mojitos!

Images: starfish napkin (theknot.com), outdoor living room (potterybarn.com), table (coastalliving.com)

June 15th, 2009 |

Add a Little Fizz

Soda Shop

Add a little fizz and some retro fun to your next party with a soda bar!

Whether you decide to use old-fashioned soda pop (available in a variety of flavors – all with fabulous vintage logos on the bottles) or the modern day versions – choose a variety of colors and flavors and prominently show them off.  The colorful bottles can act as decorations for your party too!

Keep the bottles refrigerated until right before the party starts, and then arrange the bottles by color on a table.  Add a bucket full of ice, a stack of cups, and for those wanting to drink right out of the bottle – brightly colored plastic straws!

I think this idea would be darling for a child’s birthday party, an outdoor BBQ, or even a casual, summer wedding.

Images via Project Wedding

June 14th, 2009 |

Tomatoes: Summer’s Best Recipes

Tomato Recipes

Fresh tomatoes = one of the best parts of summer!  Incorporate ripe, juicy tomatoes into your everyday meals with these fresh ideas.

  1. Tomato Tart (via Southern Living)
  2. Two Tomato Linguine (via Southern Living)
  3. Tomato Feta Salad (via Southern Living)
  4. Campanelle with Tomatoes and Feta (via Bon Appetit)
  5. Tomato and Bread Salad with Deep-Fried Chicken Bites (via Williams Sonoma)
  6. Grilled Tomatoes with Basil Vinaigrette (via Southern Living)
June 11th, 2009 |

Shirley Temple

frozen-shirley-templeServe up this refreshing treat from Rachael Ray at your next party!

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh red grapefruit juice (about 4 grapefruits)
2 cups ginger ale
1/2 cup superfine sugar
2 tablespoons grenadine or pomegranate juice
4 maraschino cherries

Directions:

In a large bowl, stir together the grapefruit juice, ginger ale, sugar and grenadine until the sugar is dissolved. Pour into a 9-by-13-inch metal baking dish and freeze for 2 hours. Using a fork, scrape the surface to break up the ice, then freeze for 2 more hours.

Scrape the surface again and divide the mixture among 4 chilled glasses; top each with a cherry. Serve immediately.

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