Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Girl Can Dream

My hubby and I share a fabulous condo that I adore. However, it is a tad on the little side. Fortunately the floor plan is fairly open so we have still managed to throw some pretty great parties. I like to think the lack of space makes things more cozy and intimate.  Despite my "make it work" attitude about the space, I do find myself dreaming of one day having a great big, open kitchen perfect for entertaining all my friends. Here are just a few of the kitchens that are currently occupying my dreams.

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What does the kitchen of your dreams look like?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dress My Dishes: Fourth of July

Now that the menu is all set, it's time to set the table! Our white dishes will work just perfectly with the red, white and blue theme for this dinner. Yes, I know it's very traditional but there is something to be said for sticking with traditional. So get in the spirit and celebrate with this Fourth of July edition of dress my dishes!


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Entertaining Menu: Fourth of July

I don't know who keeps pressing the fast forward button on summer but they need to knock it off! I can't believe that the Fourth of July is this weekend! I remember when I was a kid loving the Fourth but also being so sad when it got here. It meant that summer vacation was already halfway over and school was right around the corner! Oh, to be a kid again and have any summer vacation at all. That would just be lovely!
So if you are anything like me, the Fourth snuck up so fast that I haven't even had time to plan my menu for the Fourth of July dinner. Here is one that I just put together that might just fit the bill perfectly. Here's to enjoying every second of summer!


Monday, June 27, 2011

Entertaining Inspiration: Healthy Supper Club

Staying fit and ready for the summer swimsuit season is always a challenge! With all the summertime parties, BBQs, and outdoor events it can be tough to keep the pounds from adding up. This month's issue of SELF Magazine has the solution that will help you stay slim while still entertaining with the best of them. Try hosting a healthy supper club! Once a month or even once a week, get together with some of your closest friends and cook up some healthy eats. There is no doubt that cooking and entertaining at your own home makes it much more likely that you will eat healthier foods. Plus, there is strength in numbers! Take on the challenge of staying in tip top shape with your friends and it will be much more fun and the support will help you succeed. Another great bonus to hosting a party...you can burn up to 100 calories in 38 minutes while preparing for a party!
Try some of these healthy but delicious sounding recipes featured in the article:
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 Honeydew, Cantaloupe and Prosciutto Salad
Serves 4
INGREDIENTS
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 2 slices prosciutto, fat trimmed from edges
  • 1 tablespoon 2 percent plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 ripe honeydew melon, cut into thin strips (with a peeler) or scooped into balls
  • 1/2 ripe cantaloupe, cut into thin strips (with a peeler) or scooped into balls
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, torn or thinly sliced
PREPARATION
1.      Heat oven to 400º. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place prosciutto slices 4 inches apart on baking sheet; cook until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Whisk yogurt, mayonnaise, honey, zest, juice and pepper in a bowl until smooth. Add honey­dew and cantaloupe; toss to combine; divide among 4 bowls. Crumble prosciutto; sprinkle it and basil over salad. Serve immediately.
The skinny
148 calories per 1 1/4 cups salad, 2 g fat (0 g saturated), 32 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 5 g protein

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Chicken and Cheese Sliders
Serves 4
INGREDIENTS
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bone-in skinless chicken breast (about 6 oz)
  • 1/2 cup store-bought barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 can (7 oz) chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 8 small whole-wheat buns (such as Pepperidge Farm Wheat Sliders)
  • 1/2 cup grated aged cheddar
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 cups sprouts (such as arugula or broccoli)
PREPARATION
1.      Coat a medium saucepan with cooking spray. Cook bell pepper, onion and garlic in pan over medium heat, stirring, 3 minutes. Add chicken, barbecue sauce, chipotles and 1/4 cup water; cover and simmer until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165º, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove chicken from sauce; place on a plate to cool for 5 minutes. Use a fork to pull meat off bone and shred; return meat to pan and toss to coat with sauce. Heat oven to 400º. Open buns and set on a baking sheet covered with foil. Distribute chicken evenly among bottom half of each bun (about 2 tbsp per bun); top each with 2 tbsp cheese. Bake until cheese melts and bubbles, 4 to 5 minutes. Top with tomatoes, sprouts and bun cap; serve immediately.
The skinny
374 calories per 2 sliders, 8 g fat (2 g saturated), 52 g carbs, 8 g fiber, 27 g protein

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Mini Chocolate Cakewiches

Makes 24
INGREDIENTS
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup skim milk, divided
PREPARATION
1.      Beat cream cheese and confectioners' sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer on high until smooth. Add yogurt and vanilla; beat until well combined. Coat 3 baking sheets with cooking spray. Heat oven to 400º. Whisk flour, cocoa powder and baking soda in a second bowl. Beat sugar and butter with an electric mixer on high in a third bowl until combined; add egg white and beat until mixture is thick and pale yellow. Add half the flour mixture to sugar and butter mixture; beat until just combined. Add 1/4 cup milk; beat on low speed until combined. Repeat with remaining flour mixture and remaining 1/4 cup milk. Spoon batter into a large resealable bag; squeeze batter into a corner of the bag and clip 1/4 inch off corner to make a piping bag. Squeeze 16 lines of batter, 4 inches long and 1 inch apart, onto each baking sheet. Bake until centers spring back to the touch, 5 to 7 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Spread half the cakes with cream cheese filling; top with a second cake to make sandwiches and dust with cocoa powder, if desired. Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
The skinny
117 calories per 2 cakewiches, 5 g fat (3 g saturated), 15 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 3 g protein

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Party Game On: Bocce Ball!

Image via Houzz
It's time to take the party outside with a friendly game of Bocce Ball. If you have never heard of Bocce Ball, think of it as an Italian version of lawn bowling. My hubby and I were driving down the Pacific Coast highway on our way to Napa Valley when we happened upon this fabulous little Italian Restaurant. We didn't have any intention of eating but felt compelled to stop to find out why so many people were gathered outside. Turns out, there was a Bocce Ball tournament going on! What fun! Teams of people were sitting around tables, snacking on yummy food and sipping wine all while cheering each other on in a lively game of Bocce. We had both played Bocce before but this took it to a whole new and entertaining level! Seemed like the perfect set-up for an evening with friends and family.
Here are the rules in a nut-shell.
You throw one little ball called the pallino down the "court" aka the lawn. Then each team takes turns trying to toss their Bocce Ball as close to the pallino as possible. When all the Bocce balls have been thrown, the team closest to the pallino gets a point for that ball and any others that are closer than the opposing team. Still fuzzy on the directions? Check out the super official rules here.
Here are some very stylish Bocce Ball sets to get you started!

Pottery Barn


Uncommon Goods

Restoration Hardware

LL Bean
Party On!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

RecipEASY: Frozen Grapes!

Image via Stylish Cuisine
Can you call something a recipe even if it only has one ingredient? It has two steps...very simple steps..so I thought I could let it slide. Thankfully it has cooled off slightly around here but the sun is still shining and the pool is still calling my name. That means that I'm also craving refreshing and healthy summertime snacks. This particular snack recipe couldn't get any simpler...frozen grapes! Yep,  that's it. So simple but so simply delicious. Step 1 wash grapes (the red ones are better). Step 2 place grapes in freezer. You can even go one step further and up the summer fun quotient by soaking the grapes in wine before freezing for mini sangrias. Just make sure you cut a slit in the grapes or poke a few holes in the skin before soaking. Happy Snacking!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Father's Day Family Dinner: A Walk Down Memory Lane


Father's Day is almost here! Why not honor the father in your life with a family dinner party. You don't have to invite a ton of guests to your house to throw a party. Your family members are the best guests!
Cook dad his favorite meal and serve it on a beautifully set table. Go through all the photos you have of dad and the family and print some of your favorites. Collect all the unused frames you have around the house or pick up a few at the local discount store. Don't worry about making them all match. The more eclectic, the better! Put the pics in the frames and distribute them around the center of the table.
Try grabbing some old boxes or books to set some of the frames on. Wrap them in brown grocery bags and decorate them with a marker. Include little messages to dad about what makes him special. Dad's heart is sure to melt when he sees this display of happy memories. Spend the dinner talking about each picture and telling your greatest dad stories.
Round out the evening by giving dad a nice photo album to put the pictures in. You can even use the Father's Day card as the cover for the album!
Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dress My Dishes: Father's Day Edition

Father's Day is right around the corner so I didn't have to look far for Dress My Dishes inspiration. Natural fabrics and metal add just the right amount of masculinity to this Father's Day place setting.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Party Ready Pantry: Sparkle!

My hubby and I were lucky enough to travel to Italy last year and so began my love affair of all things sparkling beverage! I had never really given sparkling water a second thought until the waiter at one of our dinners in Rome asked if we wanted our water with or without gas...hehe. Typically I prefer all my food or drink sans gas but when in Rome....
I have to say, there was something about the refreshing little bubbles in that glass that really made the dinner a bit more special. Since then, I seek out every sparkling beverage I can find just to take me back to that moment in Italy. Why not add some of that sparkle to your next soiree? Who knows, maybe more gas is the answer to an elegant evening!


Sonoma Sparkler


Sparkling Ice

Twelve Sparkling Beverage

Sparkling Essence

San Pellegrino Limonata

Izze
Bonus...pretty packaging! Not only do these drinks taste wonderful, they will look just as great on your beverage cart!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Entertaining Table: Easy, Edible, and Economical

It's summertime and delicious, juicy fruit is everywhere! Why not use it to add a little extra color and life to your next tablescape? Grab whatever fruit catches your eye, add it to your favorite bowl or vase and VOILA, you have yourself an instant addition to your table decor. Best part, nothing goes to waste! Move the fruit from the table to the kitchen counter for a great snack any time of the day. So next time you are feeling stuck for decor ideas head to the nearest grocery store or farmers market and grab some fruit.



If you are feeling a little more ambitious, try this neat citrus votive DIY.


Or you can really up-grade the style quotient and buy one of these beauties! Careful though, they are pretty delicate. Try filling them with some mixed nuts or even some of your favorite blooms.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Kate Marie Paperie Sneak Peek!

I am so excited to bring you a sneak peek of one of my Thank You card collections Coming Up Roses! This collection along with several others will be available very soon on the Kate Marie Paperie online store. If you are interested in purchasing any of the cards in advance I would LOVE to help you out! Just drop me an email at kate@katemariepaperie.com. Give Thanks, Spread the Love!



All images Copyright by Kate Marie Paperie
Hope you enjoy!

Entertaining Tip of the Week

This week's tip comes in the way of a very cute and super handy guide for setting the proper dinner table. Mrs. Lilien of Mrs. Lilien styling house put together this little graphic to explain exactly where all the different pieces should go when you set the table. Keep it handy for your next formal affair..I know I will!

Happy Weekending!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Feelin Hot Hot Hot!

All this heat so early in the summer has me daydreaming of hosting a pool party at a fabulous place like this...


pool


Sipping on one of these little delights....

agua fresca
Snacking on this refreshing number....


fruit salad

And strutting my stuff in this breezy summer ensemble...

tunic/swim/sunglasses/bracelets/sandals

Here's hoping there's a pool party in your future!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

High Style Jell-O Shots? True Story!

I for one had not given much thought to Jell-O shots since my college days. That is until I saw the latest issue of EveryDay with Rachael Ray. There was a one page spread on the book Jelly Shot Test Kitchen and I knew I had to check it out. And boy am I glad I did! Just look at some of these unbelievably stylish jelly shots.









Are you kidding me! You better believe these little beauties will be making an appearance at my next party!
Head on over to the Jelly Shot Test Kitchen blog for more great pics and a ton of recipes!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

FYI: It's National Chocolate Ice Cream Day!!

Um, yeah. So I'm feeling a little bummed that I have gone my entire life having no idea that there was a national holiday for two of my favorite things...Chocolate AND Ice Cream! That's right, today is national chocolate ice cream day. I was driving to the grocery store this morning when I heard about this glorious celebration on the radio. Trust me when I say I will be making up for lost time with my celebrating!

Happy Eating!

Images via TasteSpotting


Party Ready Pantry: Balsamic Vinegar


Williams Sonoma

The second item in my party ready pantry comes from the land of Italy, home to all things delicious! Balsamic vinegar is something that everyone should keep on hand. It is so extremely versatile that it can be used for almost any meal of the day both savory and sweet. You don't have to spend a fortune on super duper aged balsamic vinegar but do try a few different kinds if you get the chance. Each one is a little bit different and you might find that it's worth a little splurge now and then to get the fancy stuff.
Here are just a few of the ways you can enjoy balsamic vinegar:
  • Marinades
  • Salad dressings
  • Glazes
  • Syrups for dessert
  • Dipping sauce for breads
  • Mixed with mayo for a sandwich spread
  • Drizzled over vanilla ice cream
  • Served alongside aged parmesan cheese

 
Images via TasteSpotting and Food Network

 Just how versatile is balsamic vinegar? Check out some of these tasty recipes!
Buying Tips:
Look for an indication that it was made in Modena, Italy
Low to no sugar added
The longer its aged, the richer the flavor
Once you have found the perfect Balsamic, be sure to store it in an airtight container in a cool dry place. Enjoy!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Entertaining for Real: Lauren Liess of Pure Style Home

The amazing Lauren Liess of Pure Style Home posted her adorable backyard crab feast last week and I just had to share! The simple details and delicious food are just perfect. I wouldn't expect anything less from this super talented designer. Spend just a few minutes on her blog and you will see just what I am talking about. Every room in her house is just beautiful and her family...adorable! So stroll on over and spend some time at Pure Style Home.



All images via Pure Style Home