December 14th, 2011 |

Chocolate Matzo Toffee

Looking for a yummy treat for Hanukkah celebrations?  This chocolate matzo toffee recipe from Maggie Hemsworth of Delish Catering Chicago that was featured in the holiday issue of The Party Dress Magazine is a MUST!

Ingredients

5 sheets lightly salted matzo crackers

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter cut in to small pieces

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 (10-oz) package of bittersweet chocolate chips

2/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted

½ tbsp. sea salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 275°F. Line a cookie sheet with a silpat or parchment paper. Place matzos on cookie sheet – you will have to break some of them up to for an even layer. Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the brown sugar and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring often, until the sugar is dissolved and begins to bubble. Pour the sugar mixture over the matzo crackers. Spread out evenly with an off-set spatula. Place in over and cook for about 17 minutes, until the toffee glistens.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. Place back in oven and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and spread chocolate evenly over the toffee mixture, using an off-set spatula. Sprinkle with the almonds and sea salt. Place in refrigerator to cool, at least 2 hours.

December 13th, 2011 |

Mod Hanukkah Dreidel + Free Download!

Our colorful paper dreidel placecards will dress up any Hanukkah dinner table.  So simple to make with our free downloadable template, all it takes is a little cutting and gluing.  Click on the image below for the free printables, and enjoy!

December 13th, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Mod Hanukkah

Hanukkah is known in the Jewish religion as the Festival of Lights, Feast of Dedication, and Feast of the Maccabees. It is a festive holiday of revived hope, faith and spiritual light. A special time of year for the Jewish community, Hanukkah it lasts for eight nights and is the perfect time to celebrate with family and friends.  I created a festive holiday party full of ideas for the latest issue of The Party Dress Magazine.

Updating the traditional blue and white color palette with a bold blue, green and brown, I created a collection of paper goods that mixes a colorful chevron pattern with a mod clover pattern in blue and white. The patterns are playful and festive and really pop against a crisp white backdrop. Our ideas for a tablesetting include a textured white tablecloth, a navy blue charger plate, and a paper dreidel placecard. (make sure to download our free printable template!)

After lighting the Hanukkah Menorah, you might want to serve a variety of latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly-filled donuts). Cheesecake and blintzes are served as traditional desserts, but we always love a good dessert table! Keeping with the crisp blue color palette, we created a monochromatic display of blue candy. We carried our chevron pattern into the display with both candy jar tags and labels on old-fashioned salt water taffy sticks, and add a touch of the clover pattern in as tray liners on the plates that held cupcakes decked out with fondant Jewish stars from Two Sugar Babies. With eight nights to celebrate, Jewish families can plan a variety of celebrations to entertain family and friends. We hope you enjoy our modern spin on the holiday!

December 6th, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Modern Gingerbread

Gingerbread cookies are a staple this time of the year, but why not update them a little bit by piping on some modern, graphic patterns?!  Our assistant editor, Charynn of Two Sugar Babies, created some examples for the holiday magazine.

Choosing two of the trendiest patterns on the market right now, Charynn used a piping bag to frost these cookies with both a clover pattern and a chevron.  Cute, right?!  (and yes, I will be using this as inspiration for my Christmas cookies this year!)

I also love the idea of decorating cookies with initials.  They could make a darling placecard for a holiday dinner, or a cute gift idea! (make one for each member of the family and wrap them up on a cute plate….so simple, so cute and thoughtful!)

December 5th, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Coastal Christmas

I always know that when our contributor, Beth Beattie, signs on to do a party for the magazine, that I will be elated with what she comes up with.  I was so obsessed with her “Coastal Christmas” submission to last year’s Holiday Table Challenge, that I asked her to do another one for the holiday magazine.  Living in Florida, she has that fabulous “west palm beach” and “coastal charm” influence on her designs that I love oh, so much.  Her design did not disappoint, and there are so many lovely details that you can incorporate into your own holiday dinner.

More details from Beth:

For a Coastal Christmas I wanted to use a traditional color but incorporate sea fans and sea urchins in the shape of Christmas trees. The sea urchin trees from Beautiful Details by the Seashore on Etsy and sea fans from Wonders of the Sea were the perfect start. I had a custom graphic created of a wreath with Christmas ornaments and assorted shells for the invitation and menu card.

The tablescape included silver chargers from Pier 1, assorted champagne and martini glasses from Crate and Barrel, silver ornaments from Martha Stewart at Macy’s, crystal votives from Z Gallerie, candlesticks, monogrammed napkins and napkin rings from Pottery Barn.

The create-your-own Berry Sparkle Bar consisted of a premade mixer in a punch bowl with raspberries and rosemary to garnish atop a mirror turned on its back. To enhance the sea fans I spray painted them red and to give the coral a dressier feel, I spray painted it with metallic silver spray paint. Guests ended the evening with cupcakes and a cake with chocolate starfish by Southern Belle’s Cakery.

Images by Leigh Miller Photography

 

December 2nd, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Gumdrop Topiary

You all know my LOVE (obsession, maybe?) with candy and all things sweet, so it is no wonder that I immediately fell in love with this DIY gumdrop topiary tree project that assistant editor, Charynn of Two Sugar Babies did for the holiday magazine.  It’s cute, colorful, and although I absolutely love it made with gumdrops – it’s a project that you could tackle with just about any type of candy.  Which gives you the opportunity to color coordinate it to your party theme….gotta love that.

This DIY project is simple: use a styrofoam ball as your base, and attach candy with toothpicks (and perhaps a little glue!).  Depending on the type of candy, the ball will get heavy, so make sure you plan for a sturdy base.  You can also preserve your topiary ball with a clear acrylic spray after you complete it, so that you can save it for years to come!

December 1st, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Peppermint Icing

Speaking of cupcakes…..have you tried this peppermint icing recipe that Jill from Modern Cupcake shared in the holiday issue of The Party Dress Magazine?!  It’s so simple and completely delicious!  Love it for holiday cupcakes, but I am also inspired to try it as the filling for my whoopie pies!

December 1st, 2011 |

Christmas Cupcakes

With a few Christmas parties/dinners on the horizon, I find that I am searching for unique ideas for decorating cupcakes.  I came across a few new ideas that could work for both kids parties and adult holiday celebrations.

Candy can be used as an accessory to decorate cupcakes.  I love the wreath made of jelly bean topped cupcakes, it makes for a delicious and festive presentation.  You can also use gummy trees and red hots to form a bough of holly.  These snowman cupcakes are TOO cute.  The use of licorice for earmuffs is darling, and so simple!  I typically leave the fondant toppers to my contributor, Charynn of Two Sugar Babies, but if you are looking to expirement, I think these 4 ideas are simple to execute and make a big style impact!

For the adult crowd, I what to try infusing peppermint into my cupcakes this season.  This peppermint mocha cupcake has my name written all over it and I can’t wait to try it out!  And last, but certainly not least, cover an upside-down ice cream cone with green frosting to look like a tree!

Images: jelly bean wreath cupcakes (cutefoodforkids.com), wreath and holly cupcakes (allyou.com), fondant christmas cupcakes (shindig parties to go), snowman cupcakes (allyou.com)peppermint mocha cupcake (bakersroyale.com), christmas tree cupcakes (bhg.com)

November 30th, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Color My Party

Color My Party has been a favorite feature in The Party Dress Magazine from the start, and Kim (from The TomKat Studio) did not disappoint with her holiday edition, featuring a pink and aqua color palette!  Click on the images to take you to the magazine for all of the links!

November 30th, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Winter Carnival

Holiday parties don’t need to fall into the typical red and green holiday color palette….sometimes it’s fun to shake it up a bit!  Fresh Chick Designs did just that with their take on a Winter Carnival party that we featured in the holiday issue of The Party Dress Magazine.  With a fresh color palette of pink, red and turquoise, there are tons of darling ideas that you can incorporate into a winter birthday party, baby shower, or holiday gathering.  Read on for more from Rebecca and Shannon…..

There is something so nostalgic about going to a carnival as a kid. One of our favorite treats that brings on the childhood memories and sparked our inspiration are the colors, smell, and taste of cotton candy. The oh-so familiar light watery blue and perfect pastel pink are the typical hues that can be associated this fanciful floss and thought it would be the perfect color palette for a Winter Carnival party.

This theme could be used for your next birthday party, baby shower, gender reveal party plus so many more! We started with an adorable pink & aqua argyle fabric that just has a touch of red. We wanted the overall color scheme to set the tone and keep it simple.

We opted for some pre-made Martha Stewart paper fans that complimented the colors perfectly. On the front of the table, we strung various types and styles of trim to add a touch of whimsy. Crystal cake stands were painted to match the colors. Since we already had a slew of sweets, we decided to construct a fake cake using Styrofoam cylinders, carnival tickets, ribbon, candies and a cake sign to resemble a real cake. A super cute and super easy DIY to add to your party decor. Lastly, party printables were used to tie it all together. A “concession stand” was the focal point of this party. We chose traditional treats you may see at a carnival / festival. Cotton candy, caramel apples, apple pie, candies and cookies. We threw in the pink “snowball” treats for the seasonal twist. Some other fun ideas for food could be setting up a hotdog & nacho station, popcorn bar, french fries, and funnel cakes…YUM!!

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