Just Call Me Martha Stacey

Posts Tagged ‘entertaining

I love to entertain.  I’m so glad that I married a man who can roll with my random urges to entertain for no reason at all!

I love the idea of food station parties.  I like the simplicity of prepping ingredients and then laying them all out for my guests to assemble their own meal or dessert…way less stress for me!  And better for the guests, who get their food their way!

 

foodstation1

Source:  Veronica Yem

My sister’s bridesmaids and I served a yogurt bar at her bridal shower back in August because we were doing a brunch theme.  A waffle bar would have fit right in!  The craft paper with the different steps written out is cute too!

 

foodstation2 Source:  The Best Wedding Blog Ever

I love caramel apples…I was very disappointed when the local Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory shut down.  I think this would be a great idea for a fall party or Thanksgiving dessert.

 

foodstation3 

Source:  On To Baby

A hot chocolate party would be the perfect end for a winter skating party.  T-bug has a December birthday, so this could be a birthday party idea for him when he’s older.

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I’ve seen some really fun entertaining ideas on Pinterest lately and wanted to share them!

Source: 79ideas.org/Pinterest

I love this arrangement of fruits and vegetables.  Something like this might have to appear at my holiday open house this winter!

Source: thekitchn.com/Pinterest

I have a slight obsession with all things chalkboard lately and I love this idea for chalkboard food labels…infinitely reuseable!

Source: angbrimwil.blogspot.com/Pinterest

I love this idea of a favourite things party!  Everyone brings five of their favourite thing (under $5) to the party…long story short, all the guests go home with five new favourite things!  I’m so doing this sometime!

My little baby boy just celebrated his first birthday on Saturday, and I can’t believe how fast a year has gone by!  More importantly, I can’t believe I’m already back to work, haha!

We had a party for the little munchkin the day before his birthday, since I was working the Saturday and because really, he’s not going to know the difference!  The menu included manicotti, Caesar salad and garlic bread, with cupcakes for dessert.  We decorated the house with helium balloons and streamers that matched the colour of his nursery.  Turns out (and I promise, this is purely coincidental), he was wearing a shirt that matched the colour theme of the party…scary, I know.

Some survival tips that helped me through the planning process:
Don’t refuse help when it’s offered
I had planned on making the garlic bread and salad myself but my grandmother, mother and sister all offered to contribute and I gladly accepted!  This saved me so much prep time and a little bit of money too!

Make as much food as possible ahead of time
The manicotti was made the day before and kept in the refrigerator overnight, so I just had to pop it in the oven on the day of.

Make sure to use recipes that you’re familiar with and that you know will turn out well
I learned this one the hard way and it’s a good thing I made the cupcakes the day before!  I’ve used recipes from www.wilton.com before and they turned out just fine.  I attempted to make chocolate fudge cupcakes but for some reason, they didn’t rise…AT ALL!  They were completely flat!  Since I had baked them on Thursday, I had Friday as a back up baking day and this time, used the yellow cupcake recipe from the same website and they turned out perfectly!

Ensure the dishwasher is empty before the party!
I ALWAYS make sure this is done before any large gathering or party and I can’t believe how much easier it makes my life.  The dishes get loaded right after dinner and the dishwasher is run…so it’s usually done and dried by the time the guests leave so I can unload and run it again just before I go to bed…and clean up is completely finished when I get up the next morning!

I decorated the cupcakes myself and it was the first time I’ve ever done so…the trick is getting the right icing tip and making sure the buttercream icing is the right consistency.  I used the 1M icing tip (which is basically a large star tip) which made a beautiful swirl of icing on the cupcakes.  I made the chocolate buttercream icing recipe from Wilton and had to add an extra two tablespoons of milk to get it to the right consistency for piping.  I sprinkled some non-pareils over the icing and stood back to admire my handwork…I admit to being pretty impressed with myself!

The second appetizer I served at my recent cookie exchange party were Corn Bread Bites, found in a recent Martha Stewart recipe.  They were so easy, can be made ahead of time and produce three different flavour profiles with one recipe!

Flavour Combinations:
-1/4 tsp grated orange zest, 1/4 tsp chopped fresh rosemary, 1/4 tbsp pepper
-1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp grated cheddar cheese
-2 tbsp caramelized onion, 2 strips cooked bacon (broken into small pieces)

1 cup flour
1 cup coarse yellow cornbread
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar (I found them sweeter than I was expecting so I’d probably cut out some of the sugar next time)
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup safflower oil
flavour combinations, see above

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Coat mini-muffin tin with cooking spray.

Whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Combine buttermilk, egg and oil in separate bowl.  Stir into flour mixture until combined.  Divide into 3 1-cup batches and stir a flavour combination into each.

Fills cups of muffin tray three-quarters full with batter.  Bake until toothpick inserted into centres comes out clean (12 minutes).  Transfer to wire rack and let cool for  minutes.  Turn muffins out from tray and repeating with remaining batter.

Serve warm or at room temperature (makes 36).  Can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.


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