Thursday, December 18, 2014

Holiday Cocktail Party Menu Ideas

I hope everyone is getting into the holiday spirt and enjoying some quality time with family and friends. I can't believe christmas is a week away! I thought for today's blog post I would give some cocktail and appetizer ideas for anyone who is hosting a party over the upcoming weekend. All my menu suggestions are relatively simple and will be nice and festive additions to your party. Hope you enjoy!

Cocktail ideas:
Pomegranate and Rosemary White Sangria, courtesy of I love sangria and the rosemary and cranberries are so festive for the holiday season so this is a win-win in my book!

White chocolate Peppermint Bark Martini, courtesy of
Yum! peppermint bark is one of my favorite parts of the holiday season!

Reindeer Bubbles- recipe & picture courtesy of: I love the green sugar rimmed champagne flutes. The pomegranate seeds are also a nice addition to the cocktail. 

Peppermint white Russian's,  recipe courtesy of A Beautiful Mess, I took the picture :)
I made these for my roommate and I. We both liked them and super easy to make since you only need three ingredients (baileys, peppermint schnapps and half & half).  The recipe suggests adding a little peppermint extract to give the drink a more minty taste, I definitely will try that next time. 

Appetizer ideas:
Caprese Skewers with Balsamic Drizzle. Recipe courtesy of Sounds fancy and looks pretty, but super simple and only requires four ingredients. 

Baked Spinach Dip Mini Bread Bowls. Recipe & picture courtesy of:  Very cute and guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser. 

Cranberry, brie crostini, recipe courtesy of: Cranberries and cheese on bread, what could be better! looks very pretty and nice, unstated way to incorporate red and green into your party menu. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Cookie Decorating & hot chocolate bar holiday party

Yesterday night I had my friend Anna over for cookie decorating and spiked hot chocolate.  I looked on pinterest for different cookie decorating and hot chocolate bar ideas. Below is the inspiration I based my party off of.

Luckily enough both of the parties I liked the best had free party printables attached to the blog posts so I was able to get all of the labels and signage for my party for free. You can find the hot chocolate bar "baby it's cold outside" signage here  and the labels here.  I loved the chalkboard look of the printables and the black labels looked great with the red bakers twine.  I also used the Hot Cocoa Bar add your fixings signage, which is part of the Cookies and Cocoa printable package that I link to below.

I was very happy with how my hot chocolate bar turned out. I decided to set up my hot chocolate bar in my kitchen because we had to microwave the hot chocolate. For my hot chocolate bar I tied the cup of cheer labels with red bakers twine around my white coffee mugs. I bought green and red straws from michaels, which I put in the mugs as well. I put the instant hot chocolate, white chocolate chips, crushed peppermint and mini marshmallows in mason jars, which I also tied with the labels. I also had carmel sauce, which I tied the label directly to the jar.  I wanted to have the option of spiking the hot chocolate so I bought peppermint schnapps and baileys irish cream. 

Above are pictures of the cookie decorating table from the party. The cookies and cocoa printables can be found here. For the cookie decorating table I had green, red and white icing, white chocolate chips, a little crushed peppermint and green and red M&M's.  I bought gingerbread molasses cookie dough from trader joe's and rolled the dough out and cut with cookie cutters. Using store bought cookie dough is a great time saver when making holiday cookies. I also had Trader Joe's peppermint JoJo's on my table and a brownie pecan pie, which I will discuss in a future blog post.  Stay tuned for more holiday party ideas coming up this week!  What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?

Friday, December 12, 2014

DIY Holiday Gifts

This past Thursday was my office holiday party. I had a conundrum i'm sure many of you have also faced, what to give your work colleagues. I wanted something homemade and simple so I decided to make peppermint white chocolate chip cookies. I used this recipe from closet cooking blog. The cookies turned out great, but I had quite the experience baking the cookies. Before I started baking I didn't really process how many cookies I would have to make in order to have enough  for the 13 people in my office. I had to go to the grocery store four times in order to have enough ingredients to quadruple the recipe.  I also didn't have big enough bowls so it was extremely difficult to mix the ingredients. Despite all the set backs I was determined to make the cookies and eventually I succeeded in making 60 cookies. I decided to package the cookies in clear treat bags with these labels and red bakers twine.

 If you still are looking for the perfect DIY gift to give your work colleagues, friends or family I have included some ideas below.

1) My favorite DIY gift is baked goods in a mason jar. Here are some recipes for cookies, toffee blondie bars, santa's cookies in a jar, pumpkin cranberry bread and chocolate chip banana bread. I love that you can have fun and make some pretty labels for the jars. This is the perfect gift for the person who enjoys baking.

2) Another nice DIY gift option is hot chocolate in a jar. Here is a recipe from Love Grows Wild blog.  I'm a huge hot chocolate fan so to me this is the perfect gift. You can also add a mini bottle of baileys to give someone a spiked hot chocolate gift pack. 

3) A third DIY gift option is peppermint pampering gifts in a jar. I found this idea on Another super cute idea with pretty labels, I'm a sucker for good packaging. 

What are some of your go-to DIY holiday gifts? share with me in the comments. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Cake Pops- The good, bad and ugly...

This blog post is all about cake pops! I was in the process of planning a baby shower for my work colleague, the theme we were using for the baby shower was grey chevron and yellow so I found on pinterest a picture of cake pops I wanted to try to replicate (see picture below)

my work colleague ended up having the baby early, but I had already bought candy melts and grey stripped straws from NY Cake & Baking Company, anyone in the NYC area should definitely go check out that store since its baking heaven. Since I already had the supplies I decided to make the cake pops anyways. This time to make the cake pop making process faster I wanted to try using munchkins as the base for the cake pops. I did some research on tips for making cake pops and found this blog post, which mentioned putting 1/2 teaspoon of shorting into the candy melts in order to get a smooth chocolate coating on the cake pops, which was an issue for me in the past (you can see the photo evidence below).

I got the munchkins from Dunkin Donuts and started making the cake pops by first adding shorting to each color candy melt 

Once I melted the white chocolate I dipped the grey stripped sticks into the white chocolate and then into the munchkins

Then I put the cake pops into the refrigerator to give the white chocolate a chance to harden. While the cake pops were in the refrigerator I melted the rest of the candy melts, the yellow candy melts burned a little bit.  I'm not sure why that happened to only the yellow candy melts and not the green or white candy melts. I kept adding shorting to the candy melts in order to get them to the perfect dipping consistency.   Then  I set up my decorating station with the melted candy melts, little candies and the melted white chocolate in a squeeze bottle so I could try to drizzle chocolate like the cake pops in the picture on the top of the page. 

After I took the munchkins out of the refrigerator I got to decorating the cake pops and it definitely did not go as planned. Some of the cake pops started falling off the sticks and I had a lot of trouble getting the melted chocolate to cover the entire munchkin. I also wasn't able to get the white chocolate drizzle to look pretty. You can see a picture of the final product below. 

This experience taught me I'm definitely not skilled in the field of pastry arts and cake decorating, but its always fun to try different baking projects. Stay tuned for my future cooking and baking adventures :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

New Blog Title & Focus

Hi again! I know over the summer I said I was going to blog regularly and then was good for about a month then I disappeared again, well now I'm back! As you may have noticed I changed the blog title and tagline to incorporate food. Anyone that knows me knows I'm obsessed with anything relating to food: researching restaurant menus, cooking, cooking shows, etc. I feel this blog needs to incorporate food in order to truly represent me. Therefore, from now on this blog will not only include event inspiration ( I have a ton of holiday party ideas coming your way) but will also include some sporadic restaurant reviews and recipes. Since the last time I blogged I moved to NYC so I'm looking forward to exploring and sharing my dining experiences with you. I will also be blogging about my latest cooking endeavors.  I don't have much cooking experience so I guarantee some of the results will be disastrous and comical. Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes and have better results. Any chefs out there reading this please feel free to provide me with any tips or suggestions, I'm always looking to improve. I hope you enjoy this new blogging journey with me! Always feel free to leave comments or email me at:

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Beach Party: Clambake

During the warm summer months nothing beats a clambake on the beach.  Its nice to be able to take advantage of the nice weather, eat outside and look out onto the ocean. Today, I'm going to share with you some ideas for entertaining on the beach. the set-up for a dinner party on the beach can be extremely simple with a blanket and a few pillows and a candle or can be more elaborate and you can have a dining room table and chairs on the beach. I personally love the juxtaposition of the formal dining room furniture against the relaxed atmosphere of the beach. I have also included some clambake menu ideas: lobster, clams, mussels, potato salad and corn on the cob, all the best food combined into one meal, what could be better! I hope you are all enjoying the summer and that these pictures inspire you to entertain at the beach. You don't have to make an elaborate clambake, you can have a simple picnic with a sandwich and a bag of chips, no matter what you have to eat it's always nice to have a change of scenery and enjoy the beautiful weather while it lasts.

Middle Eastern Inspired Beach Picnic
Photo courtesy of: Inspired by This

Gorgeous dinner on the beach. I love how the little pillows add a pop of color

Dining room furniture on the beach! I love the candelabra and the string of twinkle lights
Photo courtesy of: Style Me Pretty

How great is the white picnic bench and the colorful floral print pillows and of course i'm a sucker for a chalkboard menu
Photo courtesy of: Imprintables

Cute nautical themed party decor. How cute are those lobster sugar cookies!
Photo courtesy of: Juneberry-lane

I absolutely love the lanterns! They look amazing against the sunset and the ocean!
Photo courtesy of: Mod Vintage Life

Cute Clambake Table Set-Up

Clambake Chalkboard Menu
Photo courtesy of: Inspired by This


One option is to do a One-Pot Clambake
Photo & recipe courtesy of: Bon Appetit

Second option to do make lobster on it's own. This is grilled lobster with Cilantro- Chile Butter
Photo & recipe courtesy of: SAVEUR

Potato Salad
Photo & recipe courtesy of: Beachpeach

Cilantro-lime grilled corn 
Photo & recipe courtesy of: Greens & Chocolate

Grilled Clams with Garlic Drizzle
Photo & recipe courtesy of: Primal Palate

Grilled Mussels with Herb Butter
 Photo & recipe courtesy of: The Bitten Word

Monday, July 7, 2014

Party Trend: Carnival Party

Lions, Tigers and Bears, oh my! What could be more exciting than a carnival birthday party. You can pick and choose carnival elements to incorporate into your party like a red and white stripped tablecloth, circus-inspired dessert table or go full out and get a snow cone machine, cotton candy machine, popcorn machine and a petting zoo, what could be a better theme for a kid's party! Here is some inspiration if you are planning a carnival party.

Red and white stripes and baby blue. I love the clown cupcakes!
Photo courtesy of: Kara's Party Ideas

Carnival Cookies

Carnival Signage
Photo courtesy of: See Sew and Seedlings

Cute "popcorn" cupcakes
Photo courtesy of: Kara's Party Ideas

Circus Carnival Birthday Party Set-up
Photo courtesy of: Etsy

Vintage Carnival Birthday Party
Photo courtesy of: Catch My Party

Cute Circus cake

Snow Cone Cart
Photo courtesy of: Carnival Theme Party

Cotton Candy Machine, YUM!!
Photo courtesy of: Walmart

Vintage Popcorn Machine
Photo courtesy of: Walmart