Last week, I hosted book club in my home, and decided upon a summer theme. Let’s be honest, do we really discuss the book at book club? Maybe for 5 minutes… We’re much more concerned about the food and drinks.
Items on the menu were: Pork-filled Jalapeño Poppers, Charcuterie Skewers, Fruit Kabob Skewers and Sarasota Lemonade.
Ready to get started? Let’s do this!
Pork-Filled Jalapeño Poppers:
12 Jalapeños (halved and de-seeded)
1- 8 oz. package of Neufchatel Cheese
1 lb of ground breakfast pork, browned
Cheddar Cheese (to taste)
1.) Brown the ground pork over medium heat
2.) Drain and pat the excess fat
3.) Add in the Neufchatel and mix together thoroughly, and set aside.
***Note: WEAR GLOVES WHEN CUTTING AND CLEANING THE JALAPEÑOS!!! I made the dumb mistake of not wearing gloves, and my hands were burning days later, so… don’t be me, and learn from my mistake.
4.) Wash the jalapeños, cut in half, and scoop out the seeds (I use a tomato scooper)
5.) Scoop the pork mixture into the jalapeño boats. Optional: Sprinkle with cheese
6.) Cook the jalapeños at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, and enjoy!
12 slices of each, Italian Meat Variety Pack (Salami, prosciutto, capocollo)
24 Mozzarella balls
24 Black and Green Olives
24 Cherry Tomatoes
12 Wooden skewers
1.) Pick your favorite combination of the items above.
2.) Drizzle with balsamic vinegar, and serve!
12 wooden skewers
A variety of your favorite summer fruits
Sarasota Lemonade Recipe
2 bottles of sweet white wine (I recommend a Riesling over a Moscato)
1 can of frozen pink lemonade from concentrate
~3 cups of Sprite (more or less depending on how much you like Sprite)
Raspberries (for added tartness and to make a beautiful drink)
Mix the ingredients together in a glass pitcher, and enjoy!
Even though it may be September and people can barely keep calm about Pumpkin Spice Lattes, I am someone that likes to keep summer going as long as I can (since it’s so short in Minnesota). Here are some of my favorite adult beverages for warm weather
Let’s get to it!
Embarque & Co’s Pink Lake
Small Blender (I used a Nutribullet)
Ice (~5 cubes per glass)
Your Favorite Vodka (a shot or two, depending on how rough your day is going 😉 )
Minute Made 15 Calorie Pink Lemonade (1 Cup per serving)
Fresh Mint (~6 leaves per cocktail)
1.) Grab your cocktail glass, your mint leaves and pestle. Throw your leaves in the glass, muddle the leaves with the pestle until thoroughly crushed
2.) Grab your blender, Toss in the strawberries and fill with lemonade and vodka, and blend until liquified
3.) Take your cocktail glass, place your cubes and muddled mint in the glass. Place the colander over your cocktail glass, and strain the blended mixture (so the chunks from your drink stay in the colander and not in the finished drink).
4.) Garnish and enjoy!
Embarque’s Summertime Wine
White Wine (pick your favorite, I love a good sauvignon blanc from New Zealand)
Your favorite fruit (I suggest peaches, raspberries or strawberries)
Custard cup (or small bowl)
Wine glass (of course)
1.) Grab a handful of your fruit of choice, clean it, and toss it in the colander, and rest your colander on your custard cup
2.) Muddle your fruit and make sure the juices from your fruit land in your cup
3.) Take your wine glass, fill your wine glass, pour the fruit juice into the wine glass and garnish with the same fruit and enjoy!
-2 bottles of sweet white wine (I personally like a Sauvignon Blanc-to take out a little bit of the super sweet taste- but the recipe calls for a Riesling)
-1 can of frozen pink lemonade from concentrate
-~3 cups of Sprite (more or less depending on how much you like Sprite)
-Raspberries (for added tartness and to make a beautiful drink) Directions:
1.) Mix the ingredients together in a glass pitcher. I put this in a large drink container (purchased at T.J. Maxx for $20) for a larger get together.
I hope you try out one (or all) of these cocktails while you unwind this weekend!
The weekend is here! I was thinking that since there’s only so much time left in the summer, it would be fun to create a list of fun things to do with the rest of the days left. These are not only fun date ideas but also great ideas to do with your friends as well.
Let’s get to it!
1.) Paddle Boarding/Kayaking on a Local Lake
Who doesn’t enjoy spending the day with friends on the lake with some ice cold refreshments? 😉
2.) Go on a Segway Tour of your City
I know this may sound a little silly, but let me tell you, I don’t remember laughing so hard as I did doing a Segway tour in Austin. Believe me when I say you should forget about looking dorky for a day, and just get out there and do it!
3.) Go to a Local Brewery on a Steamy Night
I don’t know whether there’s anything better tasting than an ice-cold beer on a hot and humid night.
4.) Tube down the Nearest River
Last weekend, I went tubing down the Cannon River with my family, and it was such a memorable afternoon filled with so many laughs. This is a great way to spend a hot afternoon with a group of close friends.
5.) Make your Own Homemade Ice Cream
Ice cream and summertime go together like PB&J, so why not put the extra effort in and make it from scratch. Click HERE for some awesome recipes from Real Simple.
6.) Enjoy a Free Local Concert
7.) Throw an End-of-Summer BBQ
Gather a group of friends, have everyone bring their favorite summer dish, make a big ‘ol batch of sangria, and let the fun begin!
It’s time to make the most of what’s left of summer, and live it up to the fullest! Enjoy!
One of my girl friends and I were talking about how sometimes it’s difficult to figure out what to get a host -and no, I most definitely am not talking about the generic bottle of wine- although, a lovely bottle of wine is always welcome in my home. 😉
I’ve decided to put together a list of ideas that use for the next party you’re attending:
I always try my best to do posts that apply directly to my life in the exact moment (with hopes it can help my readers as well). If there’s ever something you need help with (when it comes to the home and entertaining, please let me know- all I ever want to do is help my readers.
This week my Mom is coming down from Minnesota to stay with me for my birthday as well as Mother’s Day. Whenever I host (whether it be family or friends), I always want them to feel as though my home is their home- I guess you could say that hosting is my love language. 😉 Hosting isn’t always common knowledge, so I wanted to put together a checklist of items that will be helpful for when you are hosting family or friends in your home.
Ready? Let’s get to it!
Hostess with the Mostess Checklist:
Bed: If you don’t have an extra bedroom for your guests (or a pull out couch), please pick up a blowup air mattress for your guests. This will allow them to get a much better night’s sleep
Bedding: Personally, I always purchase white sheets (be sure to dress the bed with a fitted sheet, lose sheet and comforter or duvet). Why?
1. You can bleach them (keeping them extra clean all the time)
2. Replacement sheets are always available
3. It reminds me of a high-end hotel
Sleeping with Ease: If your guest isn’t sleeping in their own room, have sleeping mask, and earplugs ready (you can find these at the dollar store)
Light Reading: Keep magazines or books near the bed to nurse sleeplessness
Flowers: a small vase of flowers (from you local grocery store) will bring the space to a new level
Allergies: learn about any food allergies your guest(s) may have
Breakfast: breakfast can be quite tricky sometimes (with all the options available), so be sure to know what your visitor enjoys eating
Drinks: this applies to adult beverages and non-adult beverages. Be sure to have bottled water available in your guest room/sleeping area
Snacks: make a small midnight sweets basket to enjoy
Toiletries: Whenever I travel to hotels, I try and keep the little shampoos, conditioners, body washes and body lotions for my guests. I keep a fully stocked cupboard in the guest bathroom in case your loved ones forget these items at home.
Medicine: I keep my medicine in the linen closet across the hall my the guest bedroom in case your visitor get a stomach or headache in the middle of the night
Bathing: Be sure to have a clean bath sheet, hand towel and wash cloth for everyone
If your guest has a rental car (or there’s public transportation near your home), a list of great restaurants and areas of interest left on your visitors bed helps keep everyone busy and happy
My wish for you is that these checklist items help you with your next guests that spend the night.
I had a bonfire party with some of my girlfriends the the other week and we had a great time! A bonfire party is a fun, and inexpensive way to celebrate life with those you love. I know certain areas of the northern hemisphere aren’t exactly ready for bonfire season, but if not, you can keep this stored in your entertaining archives.
Mandatory Party Items:
Kindling (Dry twigs)
Tinder (dead leaves and pine needles)
Matches or lighter
Lighter fluid (in case the fire doesn’t take)
Speakers and music
S’mores Ingredients (graham crackers, marshmallows and candies)
S’mores roasting sticks
Blankets (incase the air is chilly)
Decor to set the mood (I set candles up around my home to create an intimate and comfortable environment)
Step 1: Pick a theme or tone you want to convey
Since this was an intimate bonfire with about 7 ladies, I decided to take more of a relaxed environment with candles.
Step 2: Pick the menu
This this is a bonfire, so I decided to go with a s’more bar. I picked my friends’ favorite candies to add instead of just chocolate (I bought Reese’s, Snickers, Hershey’s with and without almonds, Ghirardelli chocolate with sea salt, Milky Way and Twix)
For beverages, I had white wine, red wine, beer (I love the Shiner Birthday Pilsner) and sparkling water. This covers almost all the bases your guests could ask of. If your guests would like something more specific, I wouldn’t worry about it- they are more than welcome to contribute to the party.
Step 3: Pick the music
This should be consistent with the theme. I chose (my favorite Pandora playlist), Hipster Cocktail Party. It’s a great combination or Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, as well as a nice mix of today’s music from The Black Keys, The Lumineers, Of Monster and Men, and other great artists.
Step 4: Prep the fire
The best (I personally believe) way to build a fire is by building the teepee style structure.
It starts with newspaper, tinder and kindling in the middle. Above this, build the teepee with the firewood and more kindling.
Note: Make sure you have a backup plan for if your bonfire isn’t starting (we ended up roasting the marshmallows over the gas oven 😉 I didn’t have any kindling)
Once your guests start to arrive, just light, turn on some tunes, roast your s’mores and enjoy!
I’m so happy you’re able to spend a little bit of your Christmas Eve with me. I want to share a very simple and decadent dessert with you all. This my family’s favorite, and I make it for them every Christmas.
1-16 oz. bag of Oreos
1-8 oz. package of Neufchatel cheese or cream cheese
1 package of chocolate almond bark (10 squares needed)
1 package of vanilla almond bark (2 squares needed)
Additional items needed (Rolling pin, hand mixer, 2 ziplock bags, pyrex measuring cup, parchment paper, a large mixing bowl, spoon)
1.) Put your container of Oreos in a Ziplock bag (with all excess air out), and roll the bag until the bag are in a powder form (this takes a little while). When I like to do is hit the Oreos with the rolling pin in hammering motion, then roll the pin away from myself once the cookies are crushed.
2.) Add together the Neufchatel cheese and crushed Oreos
3.) Using a hand mixer, blend together the two ingredients until the mixture is black with no white specks.
4.) Scoop into ~1″ balls and place on a cookie tray covered in parchment paper. Freeze for 1 hour
5.) Place 8 chocolate squares in a Pyrex measuring cup (or a microwavable safe bowl), and heat for 30 second intervals- stirring until smooth (it generally ends up taking 3 minutes total, or 6, 30 second intervals). Drop the ball into the chocolate almond bark, roll until completely covered in chocolate and place on parchment paper.
Note: As you can see, this gets quite messy, so don’t wear your nice new sweater while making this 😉
6.) Melt two bars of white almond bark (using same method as above). Scoop into a plastic baggie, cut a tiny corner, and drizzle.
You could you many cute designs with this, but I just did a simple zigzag.
7.) Let sit for about 10 minutes (or until the bark dries).
Personally, I like to keep these in the fridge or freezer to keep them fresh. These truffles should be served chilled.
I hope each of you have a very Merry Christmas with your family, and have plenty of rest and relaxation.
I’m glad I can be a part of your holiday party planning. This can be a very stressful time of year, especially for those entertaining for Christmas Eve and/or Day. The best way to relieve this stress is to prepare as much as possible ahead of time.
By starting to prepare for the event several days ahead of time, you leave less to go awry last minute.
Below is a simple and inexpensive (>$14) centerpiece for the dining room table:
Floating Candles -$2
Glass bowl or vase – $5
Spruce needles- $5
Sprinkle a handful of needles on the bottom of the bowl or vase
Fill 3/4 full of water
Fill with cranberries
Place floating candles on top and light (once you’re ready to enjoy)
To decorate the rest of the table, simply, go to your local florist, buy a bundle of spruce clippings, and lay the table with cranberries sprinkled about.
Whenever I entertain, I have to have background music. The best soundtrack for the season is definitely the Frank Sinatra (Holiday) Radio on Pandora Radio.
I strongly suggest having a veggie tray for an appetizer. This insures the kiddos stuff their face with veggies and not a filling cheese ball. You can either go to your local grocery store and buy a pre-made tray, or you can pick your veggies, cut them the day before (keep in an airtight container in the fridge) and place on a tray the day of your event.
I always suggest having a variety of games for your party. This is a great way for people to get to know one another if there’s a variety of friends and family that don’t know one another. This will also keep the family from talking about religion or politics 😉
Minute to Win It Games– This is a wonderful ice breaker that can be played in teams. Click HERE to see the variety of games used with common household objects
Catch Phrase– this my family’s favorite. This is a fast-paced game where one person is given a word or phrase and the people on your team must guess the word by giving them clues
Cards Against Humanity (Adults only)- An adult version of Apples to Apples (Make sure everyone playing has a good sense of humor)
Amazon.com, Cards Against Humanity- $25
By doing these ahead of time, you will be much more at ease on the day of your get-together.