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
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Sweets 3

April 6th, 2009 |

Weekday Lunch with the Girls

weekday-lunch-intro

A weekday lunch with the girls.  I’m thinking something light….

Scallops with Asparagus

Ingredients

  • 1 lb medium asparagus
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 lb large sea scallops, tough ligament removed from side of each if attached
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces

Directions

Trim asparagus, then cut stems into 1/4-inch-thick diagonal slices, leaving tips whole.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch heavy nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté asparagus, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate, reserving skillet off heat (do not clean).

Pat scallops dry and sprinkle with pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet and heat over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté half of scallops, turning over once, until browned and just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes total. Transfer scallops with tongs to another plate as cooked.

Wipe out skillet with paper towels, then add remaining tablespoon oil and heat until hot but not smoking. Sauté remaining scallops, turning over once, until browned and cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes total, transferring to plate. (Do not wipe out skillet after second batch.)

Carefully add wine and vinegar to skillet (mixture may spatter) and boil, scraping up brown bits, until liquid is reduced to about 2 tablespoons, about 1 minute. Add any scallop juices accumulated on plate and bring to a simmer.

Reduce heat to low and whisk in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until incorporated.

Add asparagus and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until heated through, about 1 minute.

Serve scallops topped with asparagus and sauce.  Recipe via Epicurious.

weekday-lunch-food-small

A couple of compliments for our Scallops with Asparagus: to drink, Campari & Soda and for dessert,  Strawberry Genoise with Whipped Cream!

Images: peonies (styleathome.com), campari & soda drink, strawberry genoise (williams-sonoma.com),

scallops with asparagus (epicurious.com)

April 2nd, 2009 |

Gift Idea: A Celebration Snack

celebration-snackI love this idea from Matthew Mead Style – a box full of celebratory snacks.  Perfect for the newlyweds as they depart their wedding, a lovely gesture for a special friend on her birthday, or even for a modern-day picnic in the park.

Packed full of specialty items such as champagne, crackers and cheese, fruit and chocolate….this gift is sure to put a smile on the recipients face!  The clear packaging makes this concept look new, and oh so enticing.  You can find an acrylic box, such as the one pictured above, at Container Store.

March 30th, 2009 |

Couture Cookies

I like to think of myself as a cookie “artist” – I decorate sugar cookies for every holiday and have been known to get a couple of compliments.  BUT….my cookies don’t come close to these!  I’m totally jealous of their modern designs.

Gumdrop Cookie Shop offers “couture” cookies and will ship them right to your door!  Choose from a variety of adorable designs, or ask them to customize with your unique design, logo or message.  These cookies would make darling party favors for any party!

Gumdrop Cookies (small)

If you are looking for a creative idea for your child’s birthday party, I absolutely love this idea…..Gumdrop Cookie Shop will send you a kit with frosted cookies, edible ink markers, cello bags and raffia (to package) – the kids can design their own sugar cookie!  It’s a great activity and favor!
Cookie Kit (small)

Images via Gumdrop Cookie Shop

March 30th, 2009 |

Strawberry Sorbato and Prosecco Float

prosecco-floats-bonappetit

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds ripe strawberries, sliced
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 750-ml bottle Prosecco or other sparkling white wine, chilled

Special equipment

Ice cream maker

Preparation

Toss berries, sugar, and salt in large bowl. Let stand until juicy, about 30 minutes. Puree mixture in batches in blender. Press through fine strainer into medium bowl. Mix cream and lemon juice into puree. Process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to container; cover and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.Place 1 scoop sorbato in each of 8 glasses. Fill each glass with Prosecco (sorbato will float to top).

Now, although this recipe from Bon Appetit sounds FABULOUS…..I don’t own an ice cream maker (shocking, right?!).   I think you could substitute store-bought sorbet – strawberry, raspberry – and make these oh, so pretty drinks quickly for your next party!

March 29th, 2009 |

Sunday Morning Breakfast

strawberry-breakfast

I don’t know about you, but I like to celebrate the weekend with a casual Sunday morning breakfast with family or friends.  The weekend always goes by so fast, and Saturdays are always my run-around-and-get-everything-done-day….but Sundays….Sundays are my fun days!

Keep it simple with easy-to-make dishes, and enjoy the company!

Here are a couple of ideas from Williams Sonoma for your Sunday morning breakfast:

strawberry-breakfast-food

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