April 27th, 2009 |

Cinco de Mayo Cocktails

Cinco de Mayo Cocktails (small)

What better cause for celebration than Cinco de Mayo?!

Try serving up these festive drinks at your next fiesta:

1. Scarlet Margarita

2. Mango Margarita

3. Classic Margarita

4. Sangria Blanco

5. Beer ‘Garitas

6. Sangria

April 27th, 2009 |

It’s all in the Presentation…

Give an old favorite recipe a new look…

mexican-layer-dipI love, love, love this idea from Food Network….everyone has their own version of a Mexican layer dip….but wow your guests by updating the presentation.

Use small glasses as the vessel to create these individual dips.  Use a white, rectangular plate – place the dip and a stack of tortilla chips on it – and you have an instant update to one of my favorite snacks!

April 25th, 2009 |

Cocktails on the Patio

Now that the days are getting longer, and the weather is getting nicer – people are starting to socialize out on their driveways watching their kids ride their bikes and draw with sidewalk chalk.   These nice days are still few and far between….so when you have a good one – enjoy it!  Extend your day by inviting the neighbors back to your patio and serve up Patio Lemonade (via Hostess with the Mostess) and Shrimp Shooters.

Cocktails on the Patio (small)

April 24th, 2009 |

Kentucky Derby: Day in the Garden

Kentucky Derby Party (small)

For 135 years, the Kentucky Derby has been everyone’s race – from the dapper men and beautiful women, all in hats and sipping on frosty mint juleps, to the laid-back crowd who picnic on the in-field on fried chicken.

The Kentucky Derby is more than just a race — it’s an annual society event. Since the first Derby in 1875, the race has become steeped in traditions ranging from specific food and drink to proper Derby attire.

One of the best part’s of The Kentucky Derby is enjoying a lovely day outside.  Although you will be glued to the TV to watch the actual race – bring your party outside to enjoy the rest of the day in the garden.  Set up tables with bright linens, and centerpieces that are loose and colorful.  Serve a buffet of traditional southern food – fried green tomatoes, bourbon-marinated pork tenderloin, fried chicken, and blackberry & toasted pecan cobbler for dessert.

kentucky-derby-tickets-plumparty

No matter how you decide to celebrate the Derby this year – there is one tradition that everyone must do: you have to serve the official drink: Mint Julep. The cocktail consists of bourbon, mint and sugar syrup, and is traditionally served in a silver julep cup with a sprig of mint.

If you want to organize a friendly wager for the race – check out these tickets from Plum Party.

For those ladies lucky enough to actually attend the Derby, the biggest question leading up to the race isn’t in regards to who is going to win….it’s all about what outrageous hat they will be donning that day!  It’s about color, extravagance, and definitely a touch of drama!
Derby Hats (small)

Images: garden (fineartamerica.com), flowers (artfool.com), race (kentuckyderby.com), invitation (ashleybrookedesigns.com), mint juleps and food (southernliving.com), hats (latimes.com)

April 16th, 2009 |

Italian Tiles

tile-cookies-whippedbakeshop

Aren’t these italian tiles just beautiful?!

Wait…they aren’t tiles, they are cookies!

Whipped Bake Shop has crafted these scalloped, square, vanilla sugar cookies with almond royal icing.  These delicious and gorgeous cookies come wrapped individually in a clear bag.  They would make a wonderful Mother’s Day gift, or a perfect party favor for a bridal shower or birthday party.

April 16th, 2009 |

Candy Buffet Table 101

Candy buffets have been popping up at weddings for a while now – but why not take the concept and present a candy buffet at your next birthday party, shower or dinner party?  Not only is it a fun, colorful display of sugar….but it’s an activity for your guests….and a great favor for them to bring home!

Amy Atlas is the guru of candy buffets – if you haven’t done so already, you should check out her website – it’s amazing eye candy!

Candy Buffet (small)

Presentation

Use a color scheme that matches your party theme:  Taking advantage of the colors you’ve already established can enhance your candy table’s presence, and bring cohesion to your entire party.

Create depth and height in your display:  with simple boxes or even phone books, you can sculpt a beautiful landscape on your table.  You can wrap the boxes in patterned paper, or even leave them bare and covered with matching linens for a refined, free-flowing cascade.  Use cake plates and candy dishes of varying height (you could even spray paint them a pop color to match your party theme).

Take advantage of your centerpieces: whether they be flowers or candles, using an extra centerpiece or two will not only tie into the rest of your party theme, but it can also add life and freshness to your candy table.

Don’t be afraid to use trimmings: details like colored linens, ribbons, tassels, and paper can add nice touches to your overall presentation.

Candy

Color is key:  using a specific color scheme can really make your table pop.  Monochromatic palettes can also be striking and elegant.  Make sure to consider different hues and shades – for example, if your colors are green and blue, don’t be afraid of using different shades of greens and yellows.  If using primarily dark colors, try to choose a lighter shade to bring energy to your table.

Don’t buy too much! It’s easy to worry about not having enough for everyone, but if you’re serving a meal, guests probably won’t be stuffing themselves with a ton of  sugar.  A small portion of ½ cup (4 oz) or less is a good estimate per person.  If you want to buy in bulk for a visual effect, save large containers for popular candies so you won’t have too many leftovers.

Containers and Supplies

More than jars:  apothecary jars and glass vases tend to be the easiest to find, but don’t miss out on other shapes and sizes you can find anywhere.  Vases are inexpensive  easy to find.  If you’re going for opaque containers, small baskets can give a rustic vibe, and candy dishes can be very graceful.   Definitely use cake stands, flat platters, and other serving ware to give your guests a variety of ways to choose their sweets!

Scoops and things:  when choosing containers, make sure you keep in mind how your guests are going to get the candy out!  Scoops, tongs, and other serving ware should be small enough to get the goods!

Individual containers:  if your table is set up as a DIY favor station, little bags or mini boxes can be great take-homes.  Dress them up with a personalized label and ribbon and your guests have a tasty treat to take home.

Resources

Candy

Containers and things

Images via Amy Atlas, information via Project Wedding

April 15th, 2009 |

Scrumptious Spring Cocktails

Spring Drinks 1 (small)

Spring Drinks 2 (small)

Spring Drinks 3 (small)
Spring Drinks 4 (small)
No party is complete without a signature cocktail.  Instead of having a full bar set up at your next event, try choosing one or two cocktails to serve. Not only is it more cost effective, but with the right styling, it will appear far more creative!

Everyone needs a few new recipes to spice up their repertoire this season….here are a few new ones that are sure to become instant favorites at your Spring events!

Cheers!

Images and Recipes via Williams Sonoma and Epicurious

April 14th, 2009 |

Dinner Party with Friends

Looking for a quick, but delicious dinner to serve at your next dinner party?!

Dinner Party with Friends (small)

As the days get longer this Spring, you will find that your life gets busier!  More activities, the kid’s sports start up….your evenings may be getting longer, but you feel like there is less time to entertain.  With a little prep work, and a simple menu and table setting….you can still play the part of soccer mom and hostess with the mostess!

Here is a great menu (perfect for Spring!) to try at your next party:

Images: recipes via Williams Sonoma, dining room (potterybarn.com)

April 10th, 2009 |

9 Indulgent Strawberry Treats

Strawberry Treats (small)

In my opinion, one of the best parts of Spring are the irrestibable strawberries that are in season.  I found 9 new strawberry treats that are sure to make your stomach start to growl!

1. Lemon Pound Cake with Mint Berries and Cream (Southern Living)

2. Strawberry Daiquiris (Williams Sonoma)

3. Strawberry Genoise with Whipped Cream (Williams Sonoma)

4. Pink Grapefruit, Strawberry and Champagne Granita with Sugared Strawberries (Epicurious)

5. Strawberry-Buttermilk Sherbet (Southern Living)

6. Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes (Williams Sonoma)

7. Mixed Berry Tart (Williams Sonoma)

8. Strawberry Tart with Orange Cream (Williams Sonoma)

9. Balsamic Strawberries (Southern Living)

Happy Baking!

April 8th, 2009 |

Baking with M & M’s

Who knew you could come up with so many cute baked goods….all by using M & M’s?!  One is cuter than the next, and would be perfect for a child’s birthday party, a Spring brunch, Mother’s Day….or to give to someone as a gift.

Check out Bright Ideas for the how-to’s for these adorable sweets.

Sweets 1
m-m-2-small
Sweets 3

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