Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gorgeous Thanksgiving entertaining ideas

Are you ready for fabulous Thanksgiving photo overload? Chris of Celebrations at Home submitted this absolutely gorgeous Thanksgiving display, including a wine and cheese appetizer table, the tabletop for dinner and an after dinner coffee bar. I'm not sure which is my favorite, they are all so unique and pretty. I'd love to be a guest at this Thanksgiving affair.  And if you are hosting Thanksgiving and still planning last minute details, look no further!

All the details as told by Chris:

"I wanted to inspires readers to think "outside the box" for Thanksgiving decorating and pull things from around their home, as well as use a more modern color palette.

I created 3 areas for entertaining: The Tabletop, the Wine and Cheese appetizer bar, and the after-dinner Coffee bar.

I used old news print along with scrapbook paper, craft punches, stamps, and other adhesive embellishments to dress things up and make them coordinate with one another.

For the seated table I used old books, small statues, and an array of collected items to make an interesting centerpiece. A bunch of flowers for $15 adds life to the table and each place setting is complete with a mini pie and a Lucky Wishbone to make a wish with, and pull apart with another guest.

The wine and cheese area uses interesting vessels and display items to serve the food from. This is also where I set up a "thankful branch" with tags available to write on.

The coffee bar is a great place to end the meal with special add-ins like flavored liqueurs and chocolate mold stir sticks. Everything is unified by the colors and vintage-inspired details."

Head over to Celebrations at Home for all the details on how you can set up an event similar to this stunning soiree along with DIY details and recipes.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Annual spring tea

{Photos taken with my iPhone, unfortunately}

Every spring, the ladies in my family gather for tea at my mom's church. It's an event I look forward to each year as it includes delicious, homemade scones, cakes, tea sandwiches and warm, cozy tea which we drink out of fabulous little tea cups. Everything is prepared by an English chef and is just awesome.

It's sort of like a girly tea party except I'm not 5 I'm 31 and we don't wear hats. It's quality time with the ladies in my family, whom I all adore. It's one of those times you know you need to embrace and cherish. And I do. Each scone-crumb, every tea-filled second of it.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Affogato - the perfect fall drink

{Photo credit: Food Network}

Almost overnight, fall came to Minnesota. It was almost like a switch flipped; summer off, fall on. Fall has always been my favorite season, the pretty, colorful leaves swirling in the wind, pumpkin spiced lattes, sweaters and UGG boots. It's pure love.

I am planning an engagement party for my good friends Libby and Jason in early October. It is going to be a fall bbq/picnic theme so my sister helped me brainstorm the perfect after-dinner treat, a hot chocolate/coffee/affogato bar. We'll have ice cream or gelato to top off a hot drink to give it that creamy, cozy feel.

Affogato (recipe credit to Food Network)


1/3 cup cold whipping cream
1/2 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon espresso powder
1 pint chocolate gelato or ice cream


Using an electric mixer, beat the cream in a medium bowl until soft peaks form. Cover and refrigerate the whipped cream.

Whisk the boiling water and espresso powder in a 1 cup glass measuring cup until the powder is dissolved, or use an espresso machine to make 4 shots of espresso. Scoop 1/2 cup of the gelato or ice cream into each of 4 dessert bowls or glasses. Pour 2 tablespoons or 1 shot of hot espresso over each. Top with the whipped cream and serve immediately.

We are also going to have a s'mores table to go along with the bonfire we'll start later in the evening.

I am the matron of honor in a wedding tomorrow and am very excited to see my best friend, Kristin get married. I can't wait to share photos!

Have a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spring tea

The ladies in my family went to Spring tea yesterday at my mom's church. It was the second annual tea we've had together and it was a great time. I don't know exactly why, but spring tea is inspiring. Maybe it's spending time with the awesome women in my family, being in a room with 65 other women of all ages or the English chef that prepared the best tea treats. Whatever it is, I will always think fondly of tea time.

Here is the menu from the "Spring Tea"

Tea sandwiches (chicken cashew and cucumber triangles)
Cream scones with clotted cream and lemon curd
Trifle and cake
Tea, tea and more tea

The photos are not great due to the glaring fluorescent lighting.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Weekend edition: coffee time

Good morning and happy Saturday! I hope to be sipping a cappucino or espresso sometime quite soon this morning to get me going for what is definitely going to be a busy day.

I'll be taking a break from blogging until Monday morning but please check back then. Posts to come include a review of D'Amico Kitchen's new 3 for $10 lunch deal, my 30th birthday party inspiration board and the new blog design (I'm crossing my fingers that it'll be complete by then!).

{Photo credit: Pottery Barn}

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Wassail tea

I have been spending the holidays in a small town in North Dakota. The weather has been frigid with tons of snow and blowing wind so I have been staying indoors as much as possible. My mother-in-law introduced me to Wassail Tea the first day I arrived and I have drank it every day since. This tea is warm, full of comforting spices and smells amazing and is the perfect drink for the holidays and the winter months.

Never hearing the word wassail before, I looked it up on Wikipedia and this is the definition I found: Wassail is a hot, spiced punch often associated with Christmas. Particularly popular in Germanic countries, the term itself is a contraction of the Middle English phrase wæs hæil, meaning "be healthy".

Though there are many Wassail tea recipes online, I think this one is particularly special because it comes from my mother-in-laws cookbook dating back to 1978, some of the pages were hand-written and some were typed using a typewriter. The recipes were contributed by the women from the church in town.

Wassail Tea

2 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 Tablespoon whole cloves
5 cinnamon sticks
1 1/4 quart water
5 allspice berries

Combine the above ingredients and boil for 10 minutes. Let stand covered for 1 hour.

1 quart orange juice
1 cup lemon juice
2 1/2 quart sweet cider

Note: doubled recipe will make 2 1/2 gallons and will serve around 50. Taste improves each time it is warmed up.

{Photo credit: Breakfast and Brunch Recipes}

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Weekend edition: pretty things

Good morning! I hope you have all been enjoying your weekend so far.

How lovely are these tea cups? I'd love to wake up with a platter of breakfast waiting for me on the nightstand with one of these cups filled with Earl Grey tea. A homemade scone to accompany it would be nice, too.

{Photo credit: Martha Stewart}

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Barcelona hot chocolate

As it gets colder here in Minnesota, what better way to enjoy the winter than inside the warmth of your own house, with a fire blazing in the fireplace (or at my house, we burn candles in the fireplace) and a cup of this Barcelona Hot Chocolate from Cooking Light.

This recipe caught my eye because it incorporates coffee. Sure, you can run to the coffee shop down the street and grab a mocha but how amazingly indulgent would this homemade hot chocolate be?

If I had dark or bittersweet chocolate at home I'd make it right now. I will definitely be adding that to my grocery list for the week.

Barcelona Hot Chocolate

2/3 cup boiling water
2 ounces good-quality dark or bittersweet (60 to 70 percent cocoa) chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/3 cups 1% low-fat milk
1 cup brewed espresso or strong coffee
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 2-inch piece orange rind strip
1/4 cup frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed
Cocoa powder (optional)

Combine 2/3 cup boiling water and chopped chocolate in a medium saucepan, stirring until chocolate melts. Add milk and next 4 ingredients (through rind); cook over medium-low heat, stirring with a whisk. Heat 5 minutes or until tiny bubbles form around edge of pan, stirring frequently (do not boil). Discard rind. Pour 1 cup mixture into each of 4 mugs. Spoon 1 tablespoon whipped topping over each serving. Dust with cocoa powder, if desired.

{Photo credit: My Recipes / Cooking Light, Randy Mayor}

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Latte art

I've been to Black Sheep Cafe two weekends in a row because I am a coffee fiend, love breakfast food and enjoy spending lazy mornings at cafes. My mom, sister, aunt and sister-in-law had a "ladies morning" and met for coffee on Sunday.

Unfortunately, Black Sheep was out of quiche (get there early, they only served it on the weekend mornings!) but did create some beautiful latte art for us to enjoy.

Check out the lattes my mom and I ordered below, how cool is that?! Click here for the post on Black Sheep from a few days ago.

The huge cupcake my mom had for breakfast. Yum!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Cafe Juliahna

My coworker Brooke lives near me in the West side of St. Paul (I live in South Saint Paul but we're only a couple miles apart). She recommended this cute little coffee shop called Cafe Juliahna on the West side (or is it technically in West St. Paul? I never know with this area). So considering my love of coffee and cafes I checked it out the other weekend.

There are a lot of great things about this cafe. First, they roast their own beans using solar power and all the food is organic. My sister and I went on a Saturday morning and had breakfast. My latte was divine and I will definitely be going back for coffee. We shared a veggie breakfast wrap with a side of fruit. It was pretty good, very fresh but I don't think it was quite worth $9. People who are really into organic food probalby wouldn't consider the prices out of line.

One not so great thing was the service, I'm pretty sure the owner was the one who took our order and she was not very friendly, almost kind of rude actually. And it wasn't as though they were like I said, coffee was fantastic, the food was ok and the service pretty poor. But the cafe was an adorable little place and it is a locally owned business so I'll be back, but probably not to eat. I have searched and searched and am pretty certain this place does not have a website, they are located at 879 Smith Ave S. (right off of Robert St. and Anapolis)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The loveliest tablescape

If you've been reading my blog then you know I have a "10-year old girl" desire to throw a tea party. I went to Spring Tea with my mom and a couple other gals in my family a few months ago and have been thinking of it ever since. I've even stopped into an antique store in St. Paul a couple times to check out the dainty tea cups and saucers. Now I just have to convince myself that it makes perfect sense to spend $100 on vintage cups for a one time event.

I have been gathering inspiration from many sources for this upcoming tea party, cookbooks, decorating magazines, all over the web, even Target.

Check out the latest inspiration I found from House Beautiful magazine. This tablescape would be perfect for a tea party and I just love the shabby chic-ness. What do you think? Wouldn't you want to come to tea???

Here is a link to the tea party inspiration board I created a while ago.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tea Time!

"Tea tempers the spirit and harmonizes the mind, dispells lassitude and relieves fatigue; awakens thought and prevents drowsiness." (Lu Yu, 5th Century Chinese Poet)

Do you ever do something you're not looking forward to and it ends up being a lot of fun? That was my experience with "Spring Tea" at my mom's church last Sunday. She called up all the women in my family and invited us, how can you say no? So we went; my mom, aunt, sister and sister-in-law and actually had a great time. The tea was delicious, the dainty tea sandwiches were adorable and yummy and the scones were homemade. We laughed a lot and had some solid bonding time. Overall, there must have been at least 80 women at this tea and some even wore hats and brought in their own intricate tea cups!

Needless to say, it inspired me to think about hosting a tea get-together at my house with all the ladies and I can try my hand at making tea sandwiches and different herbal teas. I guess you really don't always need wine and cocktails...

Here is the menu from the "Spring Tea"

Dainty tea sandwiches
- Chicken cashew
- Egg salad
- Cucumber triangles
Strawberries and grapes
Cream scones with devonshire clotted cream (I have no idea what this is but it was freaking awesome) and lemon curd
Tea by the pots

Here are some (not so great) pics from our tea time.