It’s entertaining season which means chances are you’re likely doing a combination of hosting friends and family in your home, and being invited as a guest. That means you need a go-to appetizer recipe and a great hostess gift idea so you’re covered for playing both the role of hostess and guest. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. I decided to take traditional ham appetizers up a notch and developed a new crowd-favorite.
I like to keep my recipes really simple, especially when entertaining. There’s always so much to do to prepare for guests that I never try to complicate things in the kitchen. But during the holiday season I do like to offer guests something just a little more special than normal. So when Maille asked me to partner with them, I was so excited to come up with a new simple, yet elevated, appetizer recipe.
It’s a basic ham and swiss crostini (which even the littlest guests will enjoy), but elevated with fresh herbs and Maille mustard. On top of each piece of bread, I spread on a layer of Maille Black Truffle Mustard with Chablis White Wine–SO DELICIOUS. It tastes like a familiar ham and cheese appetizer, only so much better. (The full recipe is at the bottom of the post).
Maille also makes a fabulous hostess gift or gift for any foodie in your life. I added a jar to a hostess gift basket for a holiday party I was invited to. Any host or hostess would be happy to receive this–holiday season or anytime! And if you have a foodie in your life that you’re shopping for, a gift basket like this will certainly be appreciated. (more…)
This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
Does the idea of impromptu guests make you sweat a little? Do you stress out a little bit during the holiday season when friends and family just “drop by?” I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of the “drop-by” either but I have learned how to be prepared for when that happens.
It’s all about have some essentials always on hand so if you need to put together a quick cocktail hour, you can (and with ease). There are five things that I always have stocked in my kitchen which means when someone drops by, I look like the hostess with the mostest and I don’t even break a sweat! I’m always about easy entertaining so nothing too fussy here!
1. Festive Paper Napkins – I have more of these than most because I always keep the leftover from a party or holiday. So, when guests pop in I have a drawer full of festive napkins to pull out. I would say this is pretty close to decorating when we’re talking about keeping things simple. Pull out some appropriately themed napkins for a bit of instant festivity. They have cute ones here.(more…)
This post is in partnership with Bed Bath & Beyond. All opinions are my own.
I absolutely love to entertain in my backyard. We’re pretty lucky here in Southern California and have a long season where we can comfortably host a backyard dinner party without worrying about the weather. I jump at every chance to set a table outdoors and invite friends and family over for a laid-back evening of food, wine, and good company. Are you wondering how to host a backyard dinner party? I’m sharing some of my simple tips with you!
Although it just might seem easier to host your group indoors, I encourage you to consider dining alfresco next time. I’ll show you how to host a backyard dinner party that is simple but feels really thought out. Here are the main steps.
Purchase and gather a few outdoor entertaining essentials
Stage your area by setting up the table and place settings ahead of time
Here’s a glimpse at our set up from the other evening. It all really starts with getting a few essentials for entertaining outdoors. Bed Bath & Beyond is a great place to head if you’re looking for outdoor entertaining essentials like tablecloths, cups, plates, and serving pieces. I recently partnered with them to highlight some of their great finds for outdoor entertaining. Here’s a look at some of the items that set the stage for our recent dinner party.
I just fell in love with this palm leaf tablecloth. It’s stain and water resistant which means it’s perfect for dining outdoors. It just screamed “summer” to me and knew it would make a great base for our palm leaf tablescape.
I wanted to mix patterns and textures to keep it interesting but not too matchy-matchy. I grabbed some melamine serving pieces that had a wood and marble look to them. Melamine pieces are great for dining outdoors–you won’t be afraid to break them. I also layered melamine plates on square natural woven jute placemats. These brought a nice earthy feel to our outdoor table. I also love how versatile they are. We use them regularly.
Next, I layered on some place cards, glasses, stemware, and bowls. I highlight recommend setting up everything you can ahead of time. It gives you time to enjoy setting the table without feeling rushed. You can do this hours ahead of when you expect your guests to arrive.
About 30 minutes before guests arrive, I bring out an arrangement for the table. Flowers tend to wilt fast in the heat so I don’t bring them out too early. I always combine fresh blooms from my yard (in this case roses) with a few store-bought blooms (like the hydrangeas and greenery). A small arrangement just makes your table feel pulled together and adds such a thoughtful touch.
About 15 minutes before guests arrive, I bring out the chilled rosé (though, rosé spritzers would have also been a great choice). I recently got this copper plated ice bucket and am mildly obsessed with it! It’s going to match everything on my bar cart and get used so often. I just love discovering unexpected and unique items like this and Bed, Bath & Beyond never disappoints on that front. (more…)
I recently shared with you some simple (but pretty) engagement party ideas that incorporated a few thoughtful Cricut party decor elements that I made using my Cricut machine. Here’s a look closer at how I made the vinyl decals that I used to dress up our punch glasses and this acrylic sign I used to label the “Love Punch” (aka a big batched grapefruit cocktail).
I love to play hostess. Inviting people into my home and welcoming them with food and drink is my love language. But not everyone feels natural in that role–I totally get it. In fact, for many of you, the idea of all that planning, prepping, and entertaining might make you feel completely overwhelmed. Heck, that’s the reason I started this blog back in 2007! I want to share tips and inspiration that takes out the overwhelm and leaves you confident and excited to send out those invites or to cook up a special weeknight meal.
But, even I am guilty of the occasional overthinking, over planning, and overextending myself (just ask my husband and kids!). And I’ll admit I may have had my share of “company is coming” freak-out moments. But despite the slip ups, overall, I like to keep things simple which translates into a less-stressed hostess and a more welcoming atmosphere for your guests.
So, as you start planning those inevitable holiday gatherings I urge you to try your best to keep things as simple as you can and take pressure off of yourself to “do it all” or make everything “prefect.”
Believe me, you’ll be a better hostess and your guests will have an even better time. In fact, here are a few things your guests wish you knew.
1. They are thankful you are hosting (and they don’t have to)
They didn’t have to make sure their toilets were clean, they had drink ice on hand, or have to be the ones cleaning up tonight’s mess, tomorrow. So basically you’re already their favorite person because you’re willing to host at your home.
2. They can’t tell if you baked the pie or if it came from the store
They won’t be able to tell one way or the other so make it easy on yourself and grab food at the market. Just take it out of the packaging and present it in a thoughtful way. (You know, like Sarah Jessica Parker did in I Don’t Know How She Does It.)
The minute the weather warms up and the evenings get longer, I start dreaming up the first summer party of the year. I absolutely love to entertain in our backyard but our space really needed an update. In fact, our old outdoor dining table had all but fallen apart so we had to build our entertaining space back up, from scratch. Working with a blank slate is always exciting to me. A must-have for us was well made outdoor furniture.
Before we could set the stage for summer entertaining, we had to lay the foundation –and this dining collection was the perfect choice!
Today I’m sharing with you how we took this foundation, added a few of my go-to summer party essentials, and transformed our space to one fit for guests. These pieces will help you create an inviting (and functional) space to gather with family and friends –this summer and beyond.
Outdoor furniture: Create an inviting space to dine and relax. A nice outdoor dining table can be used regularly by your family and also when entertaining. My tip is to invest in a good quality table and chairs (I am loving these outdoor stacking chairs) to be sure they stand up against the sun and weather. Be sure to grab a couple colorful pillows to add a pop of color!