June 7th, 2012 |

Mrs. Lilien’s Cocktail Swatchbook

I have a lot of books.  Cookbooks, party books, fashion books…..cocktail books.  But none of them are quite as cute (or colorful, I might add) as my new Mrs. Lilien’s Cocktail Swatchbook.  Useful and charming in that preppy yet mod style that I adore so much, and the perfect size to keep handy in the bar for summer soirees.  Her updated twist on classic cocktails make me excited for my next bash.  Some of my favorites?  Watermelon Swash, Pink Lady, and Mrs. Salty Dog.

PS – At only $10 on Amazon, it would make a darling hostess gift!  You can purchase it here.

June 7th, 2012 |

Tori’s Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

Tori Spelling’s new book, celebraTORI, shares tons of tips for entertaining.  One of our favorite ideas are her ice cream cone cupcakes!  We were thrilled to have Tori share them in the summer 2012 issue of The Party Dress Magazine, and are so excited to share them with you here today:

STEP 1:

crumble a cake in a bowl and mix with your favorite frosting. Keep adding frosting until the consistancy is moldable.

STEP 2:

place the mixture in the freezer to firm up a bit. Mold cake into balls and place inside the top of a cone.

STEP 3:

frost your cupcakes as usual and dress up with some sprinkles or chocolate curls.

For more of Tori’s tips, see our post here and feature on Tori’s blog, ediTORIal.

June 7th, 2012 |

Ice Pops: The Modern Popsicle

Ice pops are an easy way to appease the crowd and get creative in the kitchen. Use your imagination by mixing up whatever ingredients and containers you have in your kitchen, or create a theme to match an event–the options are endless!  I whipped up 5 different types of ice pops (modern-day popsicles) for the summer issue of The Party Dress Magazine.  Read on for my favorite flavor combinations:

Fruit Swirl

pureed strawberries | pineapple | peaches | agave

White Chocolate Basil and Lemon

yogurt | melted white chocolate | cream | lemon zest | basil | agave

Avocado

pureed avocado | agave | lime juice | coconut milk

Caramel Latte

cooled coffee | cream | caramel syrup | whipped cream

Watermelon Mint Mojito

pureed watermelon | agave | mint | rum

And if those aren’t enough ideas to get you inspired, here are a few more combination ideas:

 

June 6th, 2012 |

Ice Pop Mimosas

When the dog days of summer are upon us, I turn to creative ways to cool down….especially when it comes to my cocktails! By now, I am sure you have all seen the popsicle-in-a-wine-glass image floating around Pinterest.  I absolutely loved the concept, but wanted to take it a step further, and with less sugar.

I came up with this little beauty for the summer issue of The Party Dress Magazine.  I took one of my ice cube skewer/popsicle molds and filled it with pureed fruit juice before freezing. (I very quickly pureed strawberries in my blender and then strained out the seeds)  No processed sugar, and as the ice pop melted into my glass of prosecco, it created an icy version of my favorite mimosa!

You could easily re-create this with any fruit juice….what a fun treat for a summer party or bridal shower!

June 6th, 2012 |

Fruit-Flavored Ice Cubes

I love making anything “more special!”  So when it comes to dressing up my water, lemonade or iced tea this summer, I will be turning to this simple {and very pretty} idea.  Using a silicone ice cube tray, I froze slices of fruit into cubes {tip: boil your water first, let it cool and then pour it into your trays for clearer ice cubes).  Not only did they turn out really colorful and fun, but they flavor water instantly for a cool, refreshing taste.

The possibilities are endless, but my three favorite flavors are mint, strawberry and lemon.  I made and photographed these for the summer issue of The Party Dress Magazine, and since I have experimented with a few more flavors such as cucumber, raspberries and and limes.  Haven’t met a flavored ice cube I didn’t like yet!

June 5th, 2012 |

Fruit-Shaped Rice Krispy Treats

Hey, Everyone!  Charynn here to share a few tips on re-creating the darling fruit-shaped rice krispy treats that I made for Kelly’s recent Caterpillar birthday party.  These were very simple to do and I know you could all handle this! (PS – you could take this concept and apply it to any theme or shape!)

I used store-bought rice krispy bars for two reasons: 1) to save time and 2) so that they would already be a consistant thickness. Kelly was kind enough to provide me with her fruit illustrations, but you could either create your own or find some online to download.  Cut the shape out to use it as a template.

I flattened my rice krispy bars with a rolling pin to make them a bit wider and then used either a cookie cutter or the template and a knife to cut out the shape.  Don’t forget to cut out the little hole in each one! Repeat these steps with store-bought fondant (which you can color with food coloring).  Attach the fondant with clear piping gel and voila!

May 29th, 2012 |

Mastering the Cheese Plate

About once a week {for dinner}, I decide that I just can’t handle cooking and I head to Whole Foods to put together a cheese plate.  My husband considers it a great treat {and luckily doesn’t read the blog very often, so he doesn’t know that it’s my “free ticket” from cooking!}, and it’s a great way to experiment with new things.

I feel like today, might be a “cheese-plate-for-dinner” kind of night.  We had a great, relaxing Memorial Day weekend….but I SOOOOO don’t feel like I am prepared to start my week today.  How about you?

This image is definitely inspiring tonights dinner – I love the mix of cheeses and accompaniments. My two favorite cheese are by Cypress Grove – Midnight Moon and Humboldt Fog. Do you have any favorite cheeses that I should try tonight?

May 25th, 2012 |

Cool Down Your Cocktails

With the crazy heat wave we have been experiencing this week in Chicago, I have been looking for ways to keep cool.  Originally shot for the summer issue of The Party Dress Magazine (pre-order your copy NOW!), these frozen fruit skewers were too perfect to hold on to any longer.

Perfect for cooling down and adding a touch of flavor to your favorite glass of champagne or lemonade, they are very simple to assemble and you can get creative with what fruits you choose to use.

Since it’s Memorial Day weekend, we focused on the red, white and blue color theme by using raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.

May 24th, 2012 |

Patriotic Sundae

Serve up everyone’s favorite dessert, ice cream, this weekend in a patriotic-striped mug.  Easy to serve with the handle, and a cute presentation….all rolled up into one!

Image via

May 3rd, 2012 |

Piñata Cookies

These cookies “had me at hello.”  I found them via Pinterest and the recipe (along with great detailed how-to photos) is from SheKnows.com.  I love the colors and surprise factor associated with the piñata aspect to the cookie.  This colorful option is perfect for a Cinco de Mayo, but I think you could also repeat this concept for other shapes for birthday parties, and holidays.

Head over to SheKnows.com for the full instructions.

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