Archive of ‘Featured’ category

Simple Alfresco Entertaining

This post is sponsored by Pier 1 Imports

Photo Jun 04, 10 50 37 AM

After our recent patio transformation, I was eager to invite a few friends over for a simple evening dining alfresco. Our new outdoor dining furniture and garden-inspired accents set the stage perfectly. I love how the space is pretty neutral with a few pops of color. The furniture and decor lets our backyard really shine. This time of year, we’re in full bloom with lots of greens, pinks, and yellows.

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I set the table for four and got ready for a casual early evening (light) dinner. These acrylic glasses were perfect for citrus infused water (and wine later in the evening). I love their light  green color and the fact that I don’t have to worry about breaking them.

Photo Jun 04, 10 51 06 AM

I kept the food light and served salads and cheese and crackers. I love serving salads in these disposable berry baskets. And the gold plated cutlery from Pier 1 Imports added a nice touch of elegance to an otherwise, really casual tablescape.

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For me, dining alfresco is all about embracing the weather and keeping things really simple. Some flowers, food, and friends are really all that is required to host a nice evening. When you have an inviting outdoor space, you’ll be able to entertain in a moment’s notice.

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I served cheese and crackers on these wooden coasters. I spotted them and thought they looked just like mini cheese boards. I loved that I could put one at each place setting (I can re-purpose them later indoors as coasters –bonus!).

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We had a great evening. Simple food, an inviting space, and great company –the perfect recipe for dining alfresco this summer. Will you be entertaining soon? I’d love to hear about your outdoor space.

Pier1_Imports_RGB[1]Find what speaks to you. See the Outdoor Living collection in stores or at pier1.com/outdoorliving

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Give it :: Pecan Pie Pancake Mix in a Jar

You may have seen my recent post for Pecan Pie Pancakes in which I professed my love for pecan pie and (hopefully) convinced you all to eat it for breakfast. Great news! I’ve teamed up with Diamond of California to turn this into a simple gift idea so now you can gift the joy of pecan pie pancakes to your friends, family, and neighbors.

pie mix in a jar

I typically like to give baked good during the holiday season but to be honest, it’s a lot of pressure to find time to do all that baking during the holiday crunch. I love this idea because you can create this layered pancake mix gift weeks ahead of time, seal the lid, and you’ll be ready to roll when it comes time to deliver your gifts. Plus, there is just something so cute about gifts in a jar, am I right?

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Serve It :: Mini Pumpkin Milkshakes

 

pumpkin milkshake

I am a self diagnosed canned pumpkin junkie.  This time of year I come up with all sorts of reasons to use it; cooking, baking, or otherwise. That is just how these mini pumpkin milkshakes cam to be. They are so creamy and taste like your favorite milkshake just collided with a pumpkin pie. They’re rich, so making them in mini form seems to be the perfect choice. Served up in mini glasses also make them adorable to offer to guests or little ones during your next gathering or special dinner.

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Serve it :: Monte Cristo with a Brazilian Twist

Brazilian appetizers

 

While participating in a cooking challenge at the Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Innovation Center, we were inspired by Brazilian appetizers and came up with this play on the traditional monte cristo recipe. It’s made with guava paste which pairs so perfectly with the saltiness of the ham inside. Puff Pastry sheets replaced bread and this buttery, flaky flavor means all of your guests will love these — kids and adults!

monte cristo recipe

 

I had never worked with guava paste before. It is a really interesting ingredient and added just the right amount of sweetness to this sandwich.

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Halloween Appetizer :: Goblin Eyes!

 

Halloween appetizers

You know what gets me excited? When you find new ways to put a twist on a favorite recipe. And today folks, we have just that! I was recently asked by Pepperidge Farm to come up with a fun Halloween appetizer that incorporates Puff Pastry Cups and I was up for the mission.

My go-to spinach and cheese dip was the perfect compliment to the flaky and light puff pastry cups. To spook them up I topped them with sliced olives, transforming them into spooky Goblin Eyes — EEEK!

Super simple to make, healthy and cute!

puff pastry appetizers

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