June 26th, 2009 |

Dinner for Three

Dinner for Three

My brother-in-law is visiting us this weekend – so it’s dinner for three tonight!  Me and two boys?!  Let’s just say they don’t appreciate the fuss I typically put into a dinner party!  So this dinner is going to be low on design but high in flavor.

If there is one thing I know they both appreciate, it’s homemade pasta…..so I am going to make capellini with fresh tomatoes and basil.    So simple to do:

Ingredients:

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 lb. plum tomatoes, seeded and diced

1 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 lb. dried capellini

Directions:

In a large nonreactive bowl, combine the olive oil, tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper, and stir until blended. Set aside.

Bring a large pot two-thirds full of water to a boil over high heat. Add salt and the pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente (tender but firm to the bite). Drain the pasta, add it to the tomato sauce and toss to mix. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Divide the pasta among individual bowls and serve immediately. Serves 4.

recipe via Williams-Sonoma

June 24th, 2009 |

Swanky Soiree

Swanky Soiree

Although I am a classic girl at heart, the festive colors and modern lines of this party bring a little flutter to my heart.  Just looking at it makes me want to go pull out a flirty party dress from my closet and sip a drink poolside!  I’m going to take a gamble and guess that most of us don’t have this picturesque pool in our backyard – so let’s take inspiration from these gorgeous pictures and figure out how to incorporate some of these ideas into your own home or backyard for your next party.

Set the tone for your party by sending an invitation that reflects the image of the party – I found two that I absolutely love!  This one from Minted for it’s clean, modern lines and this one from Tiny Prints for it’s bright, festive colors.  Create a comfortable, yet swanky atmosphere by creating multiple seating areas with ottomans, chairs and small cocktail tables.  Use the color white for all of your tables and chairs, and infuse the area with bright colored pillows and floor cushions in your pop colors of royal blue, yellow, and lime green.

Don’t you just love the clean shape of this blue ottoman pictured by the pool?  I do – but I don’t necessarily want to invest a lot of money into something that I won’t use everyday!  So – get creative!  Here is how you can recreate the look for next to nothing in price:

Use a side table from IKEA ($12.99) as your base. Head to your local Home Depot or craft store for a piece of extra thick foam, and cut a piece of fabric that will fit around it.  I would chose something textured and on the thicker side, such as a cotton pique (remember, people will be sitting on this).  Glue the fabric around the cushion, and then glue to the top of the side table – and there you go, you have your own modern ottoman for around $20 dollars!

Now, let’s get to the table setting…… Create a centerpiece of brightly colored candle sticks, and small square vases of flowers.  I love these tightly packed roses – the solid color looks modern, and adding a piece of lettuce in the vase not only hides the stems, but also adds a different texture to the arrangement.  Use all white dishes, but pop the blue and lime green in your napkins.  If you can find a trimmed napkin in your specific colors, perfect!  If not, take this hint and run with it…  Use two solid napkins!  Lay them on top of each other, pull up in the center and gather with a ribbon or napkin ring – you will get the same affect!

Images via Brides.com

June 24th, 2009 |

4th of July BBQ

4th of July BBQ

4th of July is right around the corner!  Have you started planning your holiday weekend yet?!  A lot of times we forget about the little guests at parties – so today I am going to focus on tailoring your BBQ to make the kids happy!  The 4th is all about stars, stripes, flags and fireworks – so let’s talk about how to incorporate these into your BBQ.

Set up an area especially for the kids – a picnic table with kid-friendly dishes and paper napkins, and a play area with lounge chairs and umbrellas to provide some sun relief.  Pottery Barn Kids has these darling umbrellas – available in different colors and patterns, they are the perfect thing to provide a little shade and a whole lot of style in your backyard.  Put out a couple of small pools and a sprinkler for the kids to play in – but don’t forget a stack of towels!

Add a little fun to your food – take a basic pb & j sandwich, but cut out stars with a cookie cutter to add a bit of patriotic fun.  Serving cheeseburgers to your adult guests?  Make smaller versions (otherwise known as sliders) for the kids, and stick  in an American flag.  The food doesn’t have to be complicated – a little creativity will go a long way and the kids are sure to have fun!

Images: star sandwiches (bhg.com), drink bucket (inmagine.com), burgers (southernliving.com), kids on the dock (pbkids.com), picnic table (potterybarn.com)

June 23rd, 2009 |

Napkin of the Week: Orchid Love

Orchid Napkin

This napkin needs little explanation!  But I thought it was a great example of how a little ribbon and a stunning bloom can completely transform a basic napkin into something special.  Take this concept – change the colors, change the ribbon and the flower – and make it your own.

Image via The Knot

June 23rd, 2009 |

Wedding Inspiration: Shades of Green

Green Wedding (small)

I don’t know what it is about the color green – I’m constantly drawn to it!  Most people would probably say that it’s my Irish background, or the ting of red in my hair…..but in reality, I love that no matter what shade of green you choose, it is a rich color that compliments almost any palette.

When planning any event, it is important to choose a couple of elements or details to repeat throughout for continuity.  For this particular inspiration board, it’s all about the green!  Rich emerald green, accented with a lighter grass green, and popped with white – throw in a few pink flowers, and you have a striking combination.   I love using ribbons as details – notice here that ribbon is used as an accent in the programs, and the favors, and is even tied around the cookies.  The silhouettes of the bride and groom is a repeated element that gives the event a classic feel.

Images: wedding feet (katebesonphotography.com), cake (projectwedding.com), centerpiece (partyspot.com), bouquet (patricialyonphotography.com),  silhouette programs, favors and cookies (theknot.com), chandelier (toddevents.com)

June 22nd, 2009 |

Cocktails & Croquet

Croquet Party

Looking for a new idea for your next cocktail party?  Embrace the outdoors and invite your neighbors over for a Cocktails & Croquet party.  Full of festive drinks, appetizers and lawn games – this party is sure to create a little  friendly competition!

Set up activities in your lawn such as croquet, bocce ball and badminton.  Separate the areas with decorations, such as different colored paper lanterns hanging above in the trees,  or decorative signs announcing the game.  Set up two separate bars – one of festive drinks, one of delicious summer appetizers.

For the drinks, offer both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options.  I recommend a pitcher of margaritas and some white wine.  For the non-alcoholic bunch, offer iced tea and a frozen lemonade with blackberry puree served in glass drink dispensers.  These are perfect for encouraging your guests to self-serve – and are sure to become a staple at all of your summer parties.   Don’t forget the acrylic glassware (made to resist breaking, chipping and cracking)!

Since your guests will be occupied with competition, set up a buffet of summer appetizers that are easy to grab in between plays.  Some of my new favorites – caprese bites, brochettes of melon, prosciutto and mozzarella, crab cakes with a garlic-chive dipping sauce, and feta cheese truffles.  Is your mouth watering yet?!

For the hostess who is always looking for a new take on an old classic – this party is for you!  Let the games begin!

Croquet Party FoodImages: croquet clubs and action shot (inmagine.com), red drinks (styleathome.com), colorful lanterns (mintsdesign.com), yellow centerpiece (theknot.com)

June 21st, 2009 |

Watermelon Sangria

Watermelon Sangria

Ingredients

• 1 bottle dry white wine
• ¾ cup watermelon schnapps
• ½ cup white cranberry juice
• 2 cups freshly scooped watermelon balls
• 2 limes, cut into half-wheels

Directions

Combine all of the ingredients in a large ceramic or glass container and stir well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Serve over ice. Serves about 7.

Recipe via PointClickHome.com

June 20th, 2009 |

Dessert: In A Cone

dessert-in-a-coneMake dessert your easiest course with this simple idea from Rachael Ray:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • Grated peel and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 pound fresh cherries, halved, plus 10 whole for garnish
  • 1 pint mixed berries (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries)
  • 6 ounces milk or dark chocolate
  • 20 sugar cones

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and the lemon peel. Mix well and refrigerate.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the halved cherries and mixed berries with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Refrigerate.
  3. Break the chocolate into small pieces and place in a microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high, 20 to 30 seconds at a time, until the chocolate just starts to melt. Stir until smooth. Using a pastry brush, paint the inside of the cones with the melted chocolate. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until the chocolate hardens, about 15 minutes.
  4. To serve, stand the sugar cones in narrow glasses. Place a dollop of the sour cream mixture in each cone, then fill with the mixed berries. Top with another dollop of sour cream and garnish with a whole cherry.

Quick Tip

Try skinny shot glasses or Champagne flutes to help the sugar cones stand upright!

June 18th, 2009 |

Setting a Summer Table

Setting Summer Table

Summertime table settings should be as relaxed and carefree as the season itself. The summer invites  alfresco meals—from breakfasts on the porch to poolside cocktails and patio dinners. These great tips from Williams Sonoma will help you create stylish table settings for the entire season.

Tableware

To simplify planning your settings, include pieces in your tableware collection that can serve more than one function. Earthenware pasta bowls are wonderful for pasta, risotto and polenta as well as for salads and gazpacho. Dipping bowls are another summertime staple for presenting fine olive oils, vinegars and condiments or savory nibbles like nuts and olives. In addition to holding beverages, wine and margarita glasses can double as serving vessels for fresh fruit salads, frosty sorbets and chilled seafood cocktails.

Linens

Table linens help set the mood for summer dining. Options can be as understated as a crisp, white cotton tablecloth and napkins or as exuberant as a colorful paisley, geometric or floral print. To create visual contrast, mix solids and patterns or combine linens of different textures, such as a quilted cotton tablecloth with wicker place mats.

Centerpieces

Summer’s bountiful gardens inspire colorful table decorations. Floral arrangements are often casual and spontaneous, showcasing whatever is in bloom. Display a bouquet of just-picked flowers in a rustic earthenware pitcher, or use bud vases or tumblers to hold individual blossoms or newly cut herbs at each place setting.

Lighting

For dining after sundown, illuminate table settings with candles in varying shapes and sizes—from tiny tea lights and votives to dramatic pillar and taper candles. To create a natural look, place candles in bowls of sand, seashells or river pebbles. Nautical-style table lanterns bring the feel of the seaside to your gatherings yet won’t extinguish in the breeze. For ambient outdoor lighting, group patio torches around your dining area.

Images: table setting (williams-sonoma.com), colorful glasses (surlatable.com)

June 17th, 2009 |

Playdate Pizzazz

Snack Table with Pizzazz

Whether you are the hostess of a child’s birthday party or just trying to out-do yourself for your next play date, I have the perfect idea for you from Parent’s Magazine!

Make your snack table come alive with a few simple steps (and delicious treats)! Cover a table with butcher paper and paint it into the cutest buffet ever. Plan out your masterpiece according to your bowls and platters. Pizzas make great wheels, silicone cupcake liners work perfectly as caterpillar cookie stands, carrot sticks are colorful for sun rays.  You get the idea…..get creative and plan your “landscape” and menu together!

The Land of Nod Summer Sale!

Page 89 of 106« First...102030...8788899091...100...Last »