Drink Your Dessert: Pumpkin Martini

Want to skip the pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving but still want to be festive? Why not serve this Pumpkin Martini instead? Okay, still make the pie (after all it is Thanksgiving), but perhaps some of the adults would like the option to drink their dessert!

Pumpkin Martini

Pumpkin Martini

Pick up pumpkin pie spices in the bakery aisle of your grocery store and mix them with equal parts brown sugar on a plate. Rim the edge of the martini glass with the sweet-spice mixture and serve with a small cinnamon stick for even more holiday flavor.

Ingredients:

2 ounces pumpkin infused vodka
Splash of Cointreau
Ice
Note: Your liquor store should carry pumpkin- flavored or infused vodka around this time of year.
Directions:

1. Swirl Cointreau in a martini glass, then dump out.
2. Shake pumpkin vodka and ice in a cocktail shaker. Pour into glass.

Servings: 1 cocktail.

This recipe was discovered in Fine Living

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Appetizers from Dippy Chick®

A big part of entertaining and being a fabulous hostess is offering guests appetizers. Although appetizers at first glance always seem simple, the options and preparation can be a bit overwhelming. Don’t stress, here is a simple {and fun} solution to the endless appetizer dilemma.

Let Dippy Chick® Get Your Party Started Right!

Dippy Chick® offers mouth watering dip mixes that can be used in a variety of ways. Think dips, marinates, cheese spreads, anything that requires awesome flavors! Oh, did I mention the dip names will have you laughing out loud?

Aside from their strict quality standards and great taste, Dippy Chick’s packaging is what sets them apart. Each package has a clever name and a hand drawn design, waaaayy more fun!

My favorite three dip flavors have got to be:

  • DON’T SQUAT WITH YOUR SPURS ON (Buttermilk Ranch Dip Mix)
  • GETTIN’ PIGGY WIDDIT (Bacon Onion Dip Mix)
  • CRABBY OL’ BEACH (Tomato Horseradish Dip Mix)

Besides being fun and simple, these mixes are a fab {and thoughtful} find because Dippy Chick® dip mixes have… No Fillers – No MSG – No Gluten – No Artificial Colors – No Artificial Flavors
No Trans Fats – No Sugar – No or Low Salt… Yet they taste like nothing’s missing! Get your dip on for under $4.00!

Recipes for party dip, cracker spreads, roasted potatoes, pasta salad, sauces and more are included on each package. You can view more flavors, recipes, and order your own dip mixes from http://www.dippychick.com.

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New Uses For Old Wine Corks

If you are like me, you have a few old wine corks lying around the kitchen. Don’t throw them out…use them as decor! Here are a couple “corky” ideas for the next time you entertain!

Place Cards Holders: Take cork, cut a slit along the side, and insert a name card. Tip: If the cork won’t stand on it’s own- put a square of double-sided tape underneath it.

Centerpiece: Fill up a glass vase or jar with all of your old wine corks…simple!

Other idea: Instead of using the corks as place card holders, use them to create labels to identify your dips or dishes. Think wine and cheese party! Fabulous!

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Coffee Anyone? | Coffee Martini Recipes

Now that the holiday season has arrived, there is no doubt you will be hosting your share of dinner parties and festive get-togethers. One important part of every Hostesses’ menu are the drinks.

If you are like me, you love coffee…. anytime of the day. Why not wake up your party and serve one of these coffee inspired cocktails during your next party? Here are two great coffee martini recipes:

Coffee Martini

Mochatini:

A dream for sweet lovers. This sugary infusion of chocolate, vanilla, and

coffee is sure to please any cocktail connoisseur.

1 shot Starbuck’s Dark Liqueur
2 shots Starbuck’s Light Liqueur
1 shot Vanilla Vodka (I use Absolute Vanilla Vodka)
5 Ice cubes

Rim a martini glass with white chocolate and sugar (Make it stick using egg whites on rims). Next, shake all ingredients with ice and then strain into the martini glass

Espresso Martini espresso-martini

1 oz. espresso
1-1/2 oz. vanilla vodka
1-1/2 oz. Kahlúa
1 oz. crème de cacao

Fill a shaker with ice and combine 1-1/2 oz. vanilla vodka, 1-1/2 oz. Kahlúa, 1 oz. crème de cacao and a shot of espresso. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass.

After dinner just ask “coffee anyone?” Guests will be pleasantly surprised with this simple {yet fabulous} treat!
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Fabulous Fall Wedding

Are you having a Fall Wedding? I have put together this inspiration board to give you some simple (yet stunning) ideas for your Fall wedding. This rustic fall wedding was special to me, not only was it for my best friend… I also was the wedding coordinator- so it had to be fabulous!

  • The primary color was Espresso which was accented with fall reds and oranges throughout.
  • Fall flowers were selected: vibrant orange, yellow, and red calla lilies popped against the espresso cocktail dresses the bridesmaids wore.
  • Candles placed glass jars hung from tree branches and gave that romantic feel.
  • Rustic “Wedding” arrow signs were handmade and directed guests to the main event.

Florals | The Little Flower in Murrieta, CA

Wedding Design | Tori Tait

Cake | Jodee’s Bakery in Temecula, CA

Rentals | Allie’s Party in Murrieta, CA

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5 Simple Ways to Get Your Kids Writing Again

If OMG and BTW seem like they are referring to a person’s initials, you are not alone. The way in which our children communicate in today’s techno advanced world almost seems like another universe for most parents. And although we all find convenience in sending emails and receiving instant responses, quicker is not always better. Many moms would agree that driving through a fast food restaurant every night for dinner may be a lot easier and faster, however I bet most would agree it is not the better choice than taking the time to cook a home made meal. Although there is nothing terribly wrong with the occasional drive thru (or e-card) lets take the time to teach our kids that it is important to actually pick up a pencil once in a while!
I admit, it is not always easy to get your children to eagerly do a writing project when assigned for homework, let alone just for fun. Getting children to pick up a pencil and put down the video games and cell phones may seem like a comical idea, however, as parents we need to encourage our little ones to do just that. Unless we want our kids to be paralyzed without the crutch of the computer’s spell check and unable to communicate outside of texting lingo, we need to get them writing once in a while…the good old fashioned way! Here are some simple ideas to not only get them to practice their writing skills but also some ideas that might even get them interested in writing more (I did say might).

Here are 5 simple ideas that just might spark your child’s creative writing skills… or at least get them writing anyway!

1. Make it FUN for everyone!
Lets face it, children are not going to be eager to do a writing assignment if they see as it as a another chore or just more homework. Lets make it fun and really encourage them to be creative! Get their creative juices flowing with this fun family idea:
Make it Secret Story Sunday!
First, gather up all the members of the family (if they are too small to write independently perhaps partner them up with a parent) and have them brainstorm some really fun topics or subjects for stories. Give everyone a couple pieces of paper and have them write down whatever comes to mind like “Vampires” or “The Beach.” Then, place all the topics in a jar. Every Sunday morning (maybe at breakfast) have each family member pick a topic and keep it a secret! Have everyone write a story at some point during that day about the topic they selected. Share these stories in the evening maybe after dinner or sometime everyone is together. Not only will this get everyone in the same place at the same time- but it just might inspire your little budding author!

2. Teach them GRATITUDE and why it matters

The next time you receive a thank you card or thoughtful note in the mail share it.
Even a five year old can understand that doing nice things for others is rewarding. Express to them how good receiving that card felt to you. Encourage them to always express their gratitude towards others as well. In fact, I say it should be required for children to send thank you cards for things they receive in the mail. It may take a push or two, but eventually children will understand that it makes others feel good to know that you are thankful, plus they will feel a sense of pride in sending that card off in the mail. Don’t leave the little ones out, small children can do this too! If they are unable to write independently, have them draw a picture and then dictate to you their message you can write at the bottom.

3. Turn WHINING into WRITING

The next time your child “wants” something (like that remote control he cannot live without), have them write a request to you. Have your kids “put it in writing” from now on. Have a designated jar or box for all written request. Have them include their name, what it is they want to have or to do and why they should be granted their request. You can make this more fun for you by also having them write what it is they are willing to contribute in order to get it. Have a day like the first of every month where you promise to review all request and pick one to fill. Not only does this get them writing, it may reduce their whining!

4. Let them COMMUNICATE with their pens!

As a child, I had a pen pal and treasure the memories. Let your children exchange letters with another child their age. The back and forth written dialogue really is exciting for children. They learn to communicate through writing and the natural question and answer format that takes place. Not only will they be anxious to write to their pen pal, they will learn valuable patience while they await a response letter. Once they exchange a couple of letters they will be hooked! You can find pen pals for your children through online services (parents make sure you do the research) or simply have them exchange letters with an out of town relative or family friend.


5. Have them HELP you
You can sneak in simple writing assignments by having your children help you with everyday tasks. For example, let your child write out your grocery list as you verbally list items you need while digging through the pantry. Not only will they be having to access a unused vocabulary (how often does a 12 year old write asparagus?) But they will be learning small life lessons about household responsibilities. Also, have them help you address out going letters or bills. This is an exercise that will come in handy for them in years to come. The point is, if they can help you, let them- it may not seem like a big deal but little life lessons add up to bigger ones.

These are five ways in which you can get your kids sharpening those pencils. My point is to get creative and get them writing. It is important that we teach our children how to communicate with the written word….after all what ever will they do when their cell phone battery goes dead or the power is out and the computer wont turn on?!

Written by Tori Tait
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