My entertaining style is all about creating a beautiful and thoughtful event but all while keeping things as simple as possible. When I was in middle school, I was addicted to two day time TV shows (I used to record them on VHS every day to watch them when I got home. Sad? Maybe. But totally true). They were Martha Stewart and Semi Homemade with Sandra Lee. Martha was all about details and making things perfect and pretty, while Sandra was all about starting with store bought and elevating it a little to make it impressive and “your own.” My style is definitely a combo of these! So, if you’re looking for pretty (but simple) engagement party ideas, this post is for you! The four parts to the perfect engagement party are: Desserts, appetizers, a themed cocktail, and a couple of thoughtful details. Desserts When it comes to creating beautiful desserts for any party, my secret is to start with store bought. Yep, head to the grocery store or local bakery. You can then dress up these pre-packaged good and re-plate them and no one will know the difference. Plus, you’ll save yourself time and stress if baking isn’t your thing. I picked up this chocolate cake and these eclairs from my local grocery store. Then, I simply put them on a serving platter and added some fresh flowers (also from the grocery store). These blooms are not edible so you would just remove them before eating. If you’e worried about it, you can always pick up some edible flowers. I made this “congrats” cake topper using my new Cricut Explorer Air Machine which totally dressed up the cake. It only took a few minutes to make this vinyl decal that I added to a piece of crafting wood I had. I loved how it turned out! Don’t the desserts look pretty? And there was no baking required! Appetizers Another engagement party idea I love is to serve one appetizer that guests can eat while holding a cocktail. If you want to serve two to offer variety, go for it. But don’t do more than that. This simple appetizer took me a few minutes to put together but looked gorgeous on a plate. Just skewer: watermelon, basil, feta cheese, and a blackberry. Such a unique flavor combo! Themed Cocktail Every great party needs a themed cocktail. I created this “love punch” which would be so fun at an engagement party. The grapefruit gave it the perfect peachy-pink color which was so pretty. I think I’m in love with this grapefruit cocktail actually. (Grab the recipe, here.) Isn’t just so perfect? And it tasted delicious! Thoughtful Details Like the cake topper above, I used my Cricut machine to make a couple more thoughtful details for the party. I made these vinyl heart decals for my punch glasses, and also a decal that said “love punch” that I added to a acrylic sign holder which I placed next to the punch bowl. The glasses might be my favorite element! You can let guests take them home as a party favor. Or, if you want to keep them, remove the decal before washing. They come off very easily and leave no residue on your glass. I also love how the white heart pops from the color of the punch when the glasses are filled. If you’re looking for engagement party ideas that look great but won’t cost a fortune (or require you to turn into Martha Stewart), these ideas are perfect. Start with store bought, dress things up, and add a few details, and you’re ready to entertain! Be sure to check back next week, I’ll show you how to create these thoughtful details. I’ll show you the step-by-step one how I used my Cricut to make the vinyl decals.You can also browse the Cricut Design Space–there are so many great projects to make!
Be sure to enter to WIN your own Cricut machine here.
I was invited to participate in the Cricut Party Blogger Program Kickoff.
This experience is based strictly on my opinion. Others may have a different opinion or experience with the product listed above. I was provided the sample free of charge by the company or PR agency and I have given my honest opinion.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.
If you’re looking for the simplest idea for healthy game day snacks, this is it folks. It’s really simple and will please a crowd. If you’re not planning to make an entire snack stadium tray, this is a similar idea but in individual form.
I love serving appetizers that are easy for guests to grab and eat easily (especially if they’re huddled around the TV watching a game). You can make these dip cups ahead of time by putting your dip into a short plastic cup. I’m loving Heluva Good! Dips because they have a wide variety of flavors that taste amazing. Check them out in the dairy aisle of the supermarket. They are made with real sour cream and lots of flavorful spices. For this recipe I used the Bacon Horseradish flavor which went to well with the veggies. I really liked how it felt like a great dip, with a flavorful upgrade.
Place the dip cups on a platter with a variety of cut veggies. That way guests can choose which they want to dip. I offered celery, carrots, bell peppers, and sugar snap peas. (more…)
Super Bowl is around the corner and it’s always a great time to gather with friends and family and have a little fun. Whether you’re into the game or, like me, just in it for the half time show, you know you also get excited for the snacks. I mean, how could one not get excited for the food?
I’ve always been intimidated to make a snack stadium tray in the past, but let me tell you, it does NOT have to be so hard.
A snack stadium is really the ultimate game day party food. It covers all the basis because it’s delicious and doubles as party decor. It’s a game day win-win in my book. The key to creating a snack stadium is choosing a really good dip and building your dip-able snacks around it. (Dip-able is a word, right?)
I love to make it easy with Heluva Good! Dips. They have so many unique flavors (I’ll be sharing some of mine next week with more Super Bowl snack ideas!). You can find Heluva Good! Dips in the dairy aisle of the supermarket. They are made with real sour cream and flavorful spices. Keeping it simple it my style. Really you open up one of these dips and you’re ready to go.
Isn’t this cute? And really, you don’t have to be scared to give it a try. If like me, you’ve seen some of those snack stadiums that look like architectural food palaces that seem to defy gravity, and have been totally intimated, this easy snack stadium tray is for you! Start with a great dip, build your snacks around, add a few simple details and you’re ready for kick-off! (more…)
This is a sponsored post, of course all thoughts are my own.
I have a confession: I absolutely love that after Christmas dinner we always have a ton of leftovers. Why? Well, because for the next few days I tend to stay in my sweats, binge-watch holiday movies, and avoid going to the market at all costs. I’ve come to realize that with a little leftover planning and prep, I can set myself up for delicious meals in the post-Christmas craze. Here are three leftover ham recipes that I plan to serve up next week. Don’t they look delicious?
Ham and Brie Strawberry Sliders These are going to be a hit with the family for sure! Sliders are always fun to serve and the combo of melty brie and ham. I’m drooling already.
Ham and Brie Crostini with Fig Jam Because everything is better with brie. And these would be perfect if you have company coming over. Fig jam sounds fancy (even though it’s totally not) so you’ll look like an awesome hostess.
Smithfield want to inspire you to put those leftovers to good use and they are sharing many inspiring recipes so you can whip up crowd-pleasing dishes. I’m making the three above, be sure to pick a couple and grab your ingredients ahead of time so you aren’t running to the market (well, unless you’re into that sorta thing).
If you weren’t planning on make a ham this holiday you might want to reconsider. I mean, did you see those leftover recipes?! No holiday table is complete without a Smithfield Signature Spiral Sliced Ham. A lot of people don’t realize how easy ham is to prepare – you just pop it in the oven at 275 degrees for about 10 – 12 minutes per pound, then evenly brush on the tasty glaze and you’re done. You seriously cannot mess it up–so simple!
This is a sponsored post, of course all thoughts are my own.
It’s that time of year again, when we all have to plan what to serve guests, bring to a potluck, or prepare for our holiday entertaining. I don’t know about you, but sometimes it’s frustrating trying to come up with something new and delicious. Well friends, I bet it’s safe to say you haven’t thought of this one yet. If you’re looking for a new party food idea that is delicious, creative, and simple to make … you’re in luck.
Today I’m sharing easy bacon appetizers and party food ideas! You in? Okay, get ready to recreate at home – a “Bacon Bar!” (Plus I’m giving one of YOU bacon for a year! More at the end….)
Who doesn’t love bacon? The Smithfield Bacon Bar makes bacon the star and if a fun twist on typical party food. You can mix things up with different Smithfield bacon varieties like Peppered Brown Sugar, Sea Salt Caramel (Yes, FOR REAL), and Caramelized Bourbon Bacon. Talk about your food becoming a conversation starter. YUM.
There are so many ways to set up your bacon bar and it will work any time of day. Serve some warm flakey biscuits and set out some bacon jam guests can spread on top (YUM), add it to a Bloody Mary (best cocktail garnish EVER), use as topping on you’re favorite side dish–really you can get creative. Seriously, are you drooling yet? You’re guests are going to LOVE the unique flavors!
This bacon also really elevates any traditional dip recipe you might be serving. Here, this cheese dip became instantly upgraded when I added bacon crumbles to it!
Or, you can just eat the crumbles because……bacon.
I also like the idea of serving a flight of bacon with all of the different flavors guests can sample. Then have them vote on their favorite! Be sure to label each one and give guests paper and pencil so they can cast their vote.
Visit Smithfield.com/BaconBar for free printable labels, décor ideas, and recipe inspiration to give your Bacon Bar a personal touch and let guests know what each flavor is.
My head is pretty much on overdrive thinking of all the ways to set up a bacon bar. I’m pretty sure we could set this up for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert and guests would love it. What do you think? You better start planning because I have an amazing giveaway for you!
*I’m giving one lucky reader Smithfield Bacon for a YEAR! Want to win this tasty prize? Check out Smithfield.com/BaconBar and browse the different easy bacon appetizers and recipes, come back here and comment telling me your favorite Bacon Bar recipe in the comment section.
**UPDATE: Winner selected, congrats to Clarissa!
I’ll pick one winner and they will receive a coupon booklet for free bacon for an entire year. Giveaway closes 12-14-2016.
This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Smithfield. All thoughts are my own.
If you’re looking for unique fall salad recipes, be sure to jot this one on your list (or better yet, save it to Pinterest so you can easily find it later)! This Asian Slaw will be an unexpected burst of color and flavor at your next fall dinner.
I love to entertain during the fall season, and especially love to host Thanksgiving. In fact, it’s my favorite holiday to play the role of hostess. There’s just something about a holiday where the food is the star and the atmosphere is typically low-key and joyous that makes my heart sing. Every other year I get to host my family for Thanksgiving dinner (the other years, we head to my in-laws house in the neighboring state). One thing that trips me up when I do host is what to serve for lunch on Thanksgiving Day. I mean, we’re spending the entire day cooking in the kitchen for our feast and the last thing I want to do is make a big lunch that guests will fill up on. But, a crowd’s gotta eat, right? I decided that a fun and flavorful salad was the perfect option for a light, but satisfying lunch. And this recipe in particular is great because the flavors are complimentary to the traditional Thanksgiving dinner we’ll enjoy later, but just different enough to feel special and unique.
The salad is made up of a few fresh and bright veggies. Red and green cabbage, carrots, broccoli, and red bell peppers are tossed with a dressing made with Kikkoman Soy Sauce, which gives the salad a great Asian flavor. I like to offer the dressing on the side so guests can add their own desired amounts. Plus, if there is salad left over, you can store the salad and dressing separately and enjoy later (if you store the salad tossed with the dressing it will get soggy). Of course, if you don’t expect to have left overs, you can toss the dressing into the salad right before serving.
I also topped the salad with some fried wonton pieces, which gave it a great crunch.
What I love most about this fall salad recipe is how much flavor it packs. It would make a great addition to any fall or holiday dinner.
The dressing is actually really versatile. I can see enjoying it drizzled over fresh fish as well.