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

March 28th, 2009 |

The Gift of Chocolate

Looking for a great gift for a Chocolate lover?

Try these indulgent gifts from Plum Party – they would make a great hostess gift or birthday present!

chocolate-gifts

March 28th, 2009 |

Sweet Treat Cupcakes

Need a good dessert, fast?!  Don’t have time to bake?

Try these adorable new Sweet Treat Cupcakes from Cold Stone Creamery.  It’s way too difficult to decide which you want….which is probably why they are sold in 6 packs!

Perfect for birthday parties, dinner parties, or an office birthday.

Which flavor will you choose?

Cold Stone Cupcakes (small)

March 26th, 2009 |

Dress Up Your Drinks

I was purusing some of my favorite blogs this morning – and the colorful ladies at Lilly Pulizter found these great novelty ice cube trays from Fred.  These would be so fun for a party!  You can find them at a few different on-line boutiques, such as popdeluxe.net and some are also available on amazon.com.

Here are a few of my favorites….but there are tons to choose from!

ice-cubes-1

ice-cubes-2

ice-cubes-3

March 26th, 2009 |

Party-Ready Appetizers

Today I am answering an email from a reader:

“Dear Hostess, Every time I go to a party or to a friend’s house for dinner, I feel like my friends always ask me to bring an appetizer.  I’m sick of my same old recipes!  I can’t make another Mexican layer dip or ‘pigs in a blanket’…..can you help me come up with some new ideas?”

Here you go….hope these inspire you!

9 New Appetizers (small)

Appetizers are the first taste of the party….they can be an indicator of what’s to come with the meal, but they can also be just a fun display of different tastes.  Here are some of my new favorites:

March 25th, 2009 |

Ladybug Treats

lady-bug-chocolate-oreos1

These little bugs are easy to create and are sure to get rave reviews!

All you need are Oreo cookies, red and brown melting chocolate, lollipop sticks and 1/4″ icing eyes (all available at Country Kitchen Sweetart).

Pry apart the Oreo cookie and scoop out some of the frosting to place in the lollipop stick.  Press the cookie back together into a sandwich, and dip in the red, melted chocolate.  Place treats on a parchment-lined baking sheet into the refrigerator to chill for 10 minutes.  Then pipe the head (attach the icing eyes), dots and line in the center with the brown chocolate.  Return to the refrigerator to chill.

Here are a few more lady bug treats I found on flickr.com to inspire you:

lady-bug-treats1
March 23rd, 2009 |

Lunch Date with a Friend

Lunch Date (small)

Everyone is always so cooped up inside during the Winter and early Spring months….invite a friend or two over for an quick lunch to catch up.

I’m looking forward to catching up with one of my good friends tomorrow!

Here is what I’m thinking about for lunch:

Chicken Panini with Fig Jam

Recipe via Cooking Light

Ingredients

  • 1/4  cup  fig jam
  • 1  (8-ounce) ciabatta, cut lengthwise
  • 1/4  cup  crumbled blue cheese
  • 2  tablespoons  butter, softened
  • 8  ounces  sliced cooked chicken breast
  • 1/8  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 2  cups  arugula leaves
  • 1  teaspoon  fresh lemon juice

Preparation

Spread jam over cut side of top half of bread. Combine cheese and butter in a bowl, stirring until smooth. Spread cheese mixture over cut side of bottom half of bread. Arrange chicken evenly over cheese mixture; sprinkle with pepper. Place top half of bread, jam side down, over chicken.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, and add sandwich to pan. Place a heavy cast-iron skillet on sandwich; cook 5 minutes or until both sides are browned, turning once.

Place arugula in a bowl. Drizzle juice over arugula; toss gently. Remove top bread half from sandwich. Arrange arugula mixture over chicken. Replace top bread half. Cut sandwich into 4 equal portions.

Images: kitchen (williams-sonoma.com), sandwich (cookinglight.com),

kitchen cabinets (via joeschmelzer.com)

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