August 7th, 2009 |
Okay, gang….this is a fun one! I just received the most darling book….The Best Summer Drinks by Ray Foley, the publisher of Bartender Magazine. It’s an adorable, tiny book jam-packed with cocktail and appetizer recipes (500 to be exact). This book would make the perfect hostess gift (it’s only $4.99!).
So, here is where the fun part comes in….
Like I mentioned above, this book offers 500 cocktail recipes – but the names of these cocktails are hysterical! The Cape Codder, Love Bite, Grape Hopper….the list goes on. These cocktails could definitely inspire the theme for a party! Seeing as though we are in the last month of summer, I know you are all cramming in at least one last summer bash. Leave a comment here telling us what type of party you are hosting (or want to host) this summer….the more creative the better! We’ll randomly choose 2 winners that will each receive a copy of The Best Summer Drinks. Contest starts NOW….ends Monday, August 10, 2009 at midnight pst time.
Before I leave you for the weekend…..here is the recipe from the book that I will be trying out for brunch on Sunday:
Go Green, Be Mary
By the way, how cute would this drink be for a bridal shower for a girl named Mary?!
1 1/2 oz. 360 vodka
3 1/2 oz. bloody mary mix
2 dashes tabasco
Squeeze lemon wedge
Celery stalk for garnish
Lemon wedge for garnish
Pour liquids into a glass, garnish with the celery stalk and lemon wedge and serve.
August 7th, 2009 |
Entertaining this weekend?! Here is a thoughtful idea…
Gather flowers from your garden and create tiny bouquets for each of your guests. Place them on each person’s napkin – not only will it dress up your table setting, but it will serve as a delightful party favor too!
Image via Inmagine
August 6th, 2009 |
This darling invitation from Minted inspired this party idea; ideal for a rehearsal dinner or a dinner party! Love the colors, love the design….just plain LOVE it!
If you are planning a “dressy” dinner party – consider using a palette of metallic silver and pewter mixed with plum. I love the shimmer mixed with the deep hue of one of Fall’s hottest colors. Rich, yet modern-looking. And oh, so sophisticated! Speaking of sophisticated….make sure to dress yourself in a coordinating hue. This ruffled-trim dress from Milly fits the bill!
Since we are hosting a “dressy” dinner party, it’s time to pull out the good stuff. You know what I’m talking about… Dust off that china, polish the silver, and make sure your crystal is sparkling! Add a modern touch to your classics with a few new items from Plum Party Supplies. I found shimmered, silver napkins that are stunning, and two different types of votive candle holders. Silver and gold metallic glass votives, or silver glitter tea light holders…..you choose which one is more your style!
Serve your guests passed champagne after dinner. To dress up your drinks, add a rim of pink sugar on each glass. Simply wet the rim of your champagne flute and dip into pink fine sugar. To carry the shimmer of the silver throughout the party, serve cupcakes decorated with over-sized pearl or silver sprinkles.
Images: table setting (nancyluichin.com), dinner party invitation (minted.com), champagne (brides.com), pearl cupcakes (le cupcake via flickr.com), silver and gold votive candles, silver napkins, and silver glitter tea light holders (plumparty.com)
August 6th, 2009 |
I have been seeing recipes for marshmallow desserts all over the web lately! Here are a few recipes that I think are party-ready:
1. Vanilla-Flavored Homemade Marshmallows
I found these over at Rosa’s Yummy Yums – they look as cute as I bet they taste! These would be adorable for a child’s birthday party.
2. Mint-Marshmallow Mousse Cake
Check this minty dessert out at Eat My Cake Now!
3. Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies
Three words: Chocolate. Marshmallow. Peanut Butter. Need I say more?! Find this delicious recipe at Tartelette.
4. Flavored Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies
The yummy cookie….but done in flavors! Find the recipes for orange, hazelnut, cherry coconut, and hazelnut and frangelico-flavored cookies over at Test with Skewer.
5. Marshmallow-Chocolate-Peanut Butter Torte
Okay….my mouth is watering a little bit more with each picture! This looks like it’s to die for! Check it out at Lemonpi.
6. Homemade Mallows (with pretty pink frosting!)
I love the hot pink frosting on these! So festive and I bet they taste delicious! Try this take on the classic from Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy.
August 5th, 2009 |
Summer is going to end before we know it and soon you will be back into your school year schedule. Host one last backyard bash before school starts to celebrate the end of summer with your kids. The kids will be thrilled with just a table full of goodies and a yard to run around in. So while the kids are occupied, entertain the parents with a casual dinner.
Use the back-to-school theme and run with it! Cover your table with a long piece of black butcher block paper, and draw on placemats with a white pencil or paint pen. Or cut out individual placemats from the black paper. It will look like a chalkboard! And if you add in each person’s name….it will double as your placecard, too. Keep your centerpiece simple, line the center of the table with simple flowers such as daisies and tulips. Use different types of vases – bowls, small vases, even glass mason jars, or glass milk bottles – to keep the look casual.
If you are looking for ideas for a menu – try a bread salad with tomatoes, lemon and cucumbers, buttermilk fried chicken, grilled corn-on-the-cob, and an old-fashioned latticed cherry pie.
Set up a kids table using the same black paper as a topper. Instead of drawing on placemats, draw out ruled lines and letters to make it look like a handwriting lesson. Provide the kids with plenty of easy-to-eat snacks….something they can grab on the run. My vote would be for mini hot dogs, pb & j sandwiches (cut out in a cute shape, of course), cookies and rice crispy treats.
Casual, cheery, and fun for all….this back-to-school backyard bash is the perfect send-off to summer!
Images: kids (ba-reps.com), table (realsimple.com), cookies and rice crispy treats (inmagine.com), mini hot dogs (horchow.com)
August 5th, 2009 |
Playdate activities….it’s always an endless search for something new and exciting that will keep the children occupied long enough for the mothers to enjoy a cup of coffee!
Playdough. It’s an activity that all kids enjoy. But spice it up a bit. Make playdough cookies!
Same concept: make a batch of dough, dye it different colors, and let the kids build shapes with it. The only difference, is that you bake the shapes and voila! Not only did the kids have fun, but you have colorful cookies to enjoy as a treat!
This would make a great activity for a child’s birthday party, too!
Play Dough Cookies
The original recipe proposes cookies in lollipop form, but have your kids get creative and create cookies in all different shapes. Just be careful to bake similar sized cookies at a time. Besides their super cute looks, these really delivered tastewise – they are sugar cookies after all, with a pleasent crumbly texture from the cream cheese.
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 3 ounces cream cheese
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- assorted colors of paste food coloring
- 24 lollipop sticks (optional)
- In the electric mixer, cream butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat until smooth.
- In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Stir till soft dough forms. Divide dough into fourths. Tint each with a different food color. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Working with half of each color, shape dough into 3/4 inch balls and for each cookie place 1 pink, 1 green, 1 blue and 1 orange (I used red, yellow, blue and green) ball together to make 1 large ball. Shape into a 12 inch long roll (like a snake), starting at one end, coil roll to make a 2 3/4 inch round cookie. Place cookies 3 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheet. Carefully insert lollipop sticks into bottoms of cookies.
- Bake cookies for 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool and store in an airtight container.
Recipe via The Cookieshop in English
August 4th, 2009 |
Add a fun twist to your next cocktail party by decorating with COLOR! Choose a color palette of three hues and break up your party into color-coordinated sections. For example, I have chosen a fuchsia, orange and yellow color palette for this party inspiration. Set your table up in three sections and include flowers, cocktails, appetizers, barware and edible garnishes in each section. Use neutral elements such as a tall glass vase, or votive candles in each section to unify the look. It’s somewhat of an “organization by color” project – but the final product will be so visual appealing!
When planning your food and drinks, try to keep your color palette in mind. Serve a signature cocktail for each color. For example, try a raspberry champagne cocktail (for the fuchsia), a mango cocktail (for the orange), and a lemoncello cooler (for the yellow). Get creative with your food presentation too….instead of serving one large crudites tray, separate the veggies by color. Place radishes on a plate with a small bowl of dip, carrots for the orange section, celery for the yellow section, and so on….
Bring in your pop colors with accessories. This festive invitation from Wedding Paper Divas is perfect for my color palette, but it comes in other color ways as well…perfect for any party! I found these great colored-glass votive candles at Plum Party Supplies. They come in all different colors, and I was thrilled to find them in all three of my pop colors – fuchsia, orange, yellow! These are great for placing in the different colored sections of my table, but will still give a unified look.
Images: invitation (weddingpaperdivas.com), shrimp cocktail (epicurious.com), wine glasses (thenest.com), table setting (potterybarn.com)
August 3rd, 2009 |
This shabby chic birthday brunch is all about natural sand colors mixed with cornflower blue. This lovely invitation from Minted is the perfect inspiration for the decor of the party….it has a subtle garden party feel, but with a color palette that I think is so sophisticated.
If you are hosting a larger party, consider setting up a few tables of 8-10 for brunch. In order to assure your guests have a lovely time, use placecards to determine the seating. Create a placecard display by filling a wood tray with sunflower seeds, beans, or rice (something in the natural color) and stand the placecards up in neat little rows.
Bring natural elements into your table centerpieces. Potted plants, candles perched on wood coasters, glass hurricane candles filled with pussy willow branches. Tie your napkin with a piece of raffia or a ribbon, and stick a white flower into it to finish off the presentation. Dress up a basic birthday cake with some fresh flowers on top….flowers make everything look special!
No party is complete without a signature drink….ask the birthday girl what her favorite cocktail is ahead of time. An Arnold Palmer (half lemonade, half iced tea) would be a perfect non-alcoholic option. Dress up your drinks by adding a custom flag to your straws. The pop of blue ties into our color palette, and they are darling when personalized with a cute saying, or something as simple as “Happy 30th!”
This brunch inspiration would be ideal for a bridal shower as well. The beautiful colors, simple decorations and sophisticated feel ensures a lovely afternoon with friends. Doesn’t it make you want to pull a floral party dress out of your closet and plan a party?!
Images: invitation (minted.com), drinks (brides.com), blue cake (theknot.com), table setting (artfool.com), placecards (saltharbor.com), party dresses (jcrew.com)
August 1st, 2009 |
I found these delicious looking treats over at Big Red Kitchen. Edible cocktails. Jello shots. Whatever you want to call them, they are so fun….I must try them at my next party! Festive, colorful, and perfect for an evening of outdoor entertaining. I bet a few of your guests may even squeal with delight when they see them as they recall the jello shots of their past. Don’t let these childhood-like treats fool you, they have a bite and will sneak up on you if you have a few too many.
Edible Cocktails: Sangria
1 3/4 cups Reál Sangria
1 1/2 cups Limeade
3/4 cup Cointreau
4 packets Knox Gelatine – one whole box
zest of one lime for garnish
Mix the first 3 ingredients in a small sauce pan. Add Knox and let sit 3 minutes until gel softens. Turn on heat to medium and heat for a few minutes until gel is completely dissolved, no need to boil or get very hot. Pour into a 9 inch square pan that has been lined with plastic wrap. Chill covered overnight. To unmold, turn cocktail over onto a cutting board, remove plastic wrap and cut into 36 equal sized pieces. Top each piece with a small bit of lime zest. Place on pretty tray and serve immediately. Makes 36 pieces.
Tips on Making Edible Cocktails
1. Before adding the Gelatine, taste the cocktail first and adjust flavor if needed.
2. Keep chilled at all times! These will dissolve into puddles if not kept cold. Mine got soft on the car ride over to the party, which a quick trip to the freezer fixed them up just fine, but oh the puddle they made in my lap on the warm car ride home!
3. Remember the ratio to turn your favorite cocktail into an Edible Cocktail- one packet (7 grams) Knox Gelatine to every 8 ounces (240 ml) of fluid. More Gelatine will make the cocktails even more firm if necessary.
Be creative and have fun!
July 30th, 2009 |
For a summertime wedding full of charm, take some old “country” ideas and update them to create a modern event that will have the town talking for weeks! If you are a bride planning an outdoor, casual wedding, opt for a short wedding gown, such as this one from Amsale. Short and sassy will not only update your look, but it will keep you cool on the dance floor!
Green and purple are a natural pair….but instead of opting for soft, pastel colors…..go bold! A chartreuse green and strong purple will bring your event to life and you can have a ton of fun with your decor. Use white and green as your base colors, and pop in the purple in all of your floral details.
Update a classic white wedding invitation with a bold green monogram like this one from Wedding Paper Divas, and carry the green ink thru all of your stationery. Wedding programs, thank you cards, even the placecards. When it comes to decorating your tables, take a cue from those old “country charm” ideas I mentioned above and use a plaid table cloth. Done in these bold colors, it looks updated and fresh….perfect for a summer wedding! I love the centerpieces on this table! They took footed trifle bowls and filled them with a large bunch of the same bloom – here they used irises. The single bloom, and bold color from the irises is a more modern look – paired with the plaid table cloth – it’s the perfect combination!
Carry the green throughout your event by creating a dessert buffet to surround the wedding cake. Dessert buffets offer your guests a bunch of options in terms of dessert, and when they are done in a monochromatic theme they look oh, so sophisticated!
Images: short wedding gown (amsale.com), purple bouquet (theknot.com), plaid table setting (brides.com), invitation (weddingpaperdivas.com), lime placecards (realsimple.com), dessert buffet (amyatlas.com)