IMG8 tomatowatermelon1
robin's egg  blue
summer recipe
starsangria1
summer cocktail
rustic herb pots
IMG5
summer linen pillows summer dessert
prosciuttotoasts1
summer appetizers gift wrapping
IMG6 sodapopbrisket2
linen tea towel summer entree
hydrangea1
baking packaging
IMG7
summer entertaining
summer sides
candlecolorsphoto1
candle
tour our

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Easy Homemade Pickles | Willow Serving Baskets are back!


Big news, the Willow Serving Baskets are now restocked in the store and ready to ship!  I've used mine so many times this summer for entertaining - and on a daily basis to organize my kitchen counters.  I can't wait to start using this Fall for some of the parties I have planned.  

When I first debuted this photo back in June, many of you asked for the pickles recipe.  I didn't want to taunt you with photos of the baskets (that were then sold out), so I've waited until now.  Hope you still have plenty of cucumbers ready for pickle making!

Easy Homemade Pickles

10 small cucumbers, cut into thin slices or quarters
3 cups of vinegar 
1 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of sea salt
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons of dry mustard
1/3 cup of peppercorns
4 cloves of garlic, sliced in half
1 bunch of dill, divided into 4

Combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper flakes and mustard into a saucepan and bring to a slight boil to dissolve the sugar and salt.  Remove from heat.  

In 4 jars, place 2 garlic halves, a couple sprigs of dill, 1 tablespoon of peppercorns and one quarter of the cucumbers.  Pour vinegar mixture into each jar to the brim.  Fasten the lids on the jar and refrigerate for 2 days before eating.  The pickles will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks!










I love to use my gathering baskets to organize everything on a buffet and hold plates, napkins and silverware.








While these green striped linen tea towels (being used as napkins) are sold out, I do have a couple of other colors still in-stock, here.

Organizing a food display like this is a really easy way to make very simple items look bountiful and very inviting... the real secret to easy entertaining!


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Thai Steak & Vegetable Noodles in Peanut Sauce... Again

This is the 3rd time I've shared a recipe similar to this on the blog.  The first was in 2010, and the second in 2011.  Now that it is 2014, I've perfected it - and simplified it.  Perhaps it is my lack of time or brain power to make sure that I had all of the ingredients that the first two included... I think there were 18?  Now, when we're at the grocery store, I'm pushing a giant red car cart, feeding Emma grapes and cleaning up the carton of pink milk we just drizzled down Aisle 4.

It seems like I always end up forgetting a couple of things we need to make dinner happen.  But, dinner always does happen anyway - maybe not the way I intended, but sometimes it turns out for the better.  In this case, I've simplified the ingredients to make the entire dish work better together.



You can see the old recipes, here, and grimace at my photography like I did.

I like to serve this with warm steak and noodles, but you can also serve it cold, more like a salad... which is how I had the left overs for lunch today. 

Thai Steak Noodles in Peanut Sauce


1 pound Flank Steak
1/2 box Linguine, cooked
1 small head savoy or napa cabbage, shredded
1 1/2 cups carrots, matchsticks
1/4 cup of cilantro, fresh, torn into pieces
1 red pepper, matchsticks
3 tablespoons of peanut butter
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 teaspoon siracha (more for spicier)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 lime, cut in wedgest


Salt the steak on both sides, then sear it in a hot pan for 3 minutes on each side.  Cover with foil and let rest for 15 minutes, then slice thin.

Meanwhile, cook the linguine in salted boiling water until al dente.  Drain.


To make the sauce, combine the peanut butter, oil, siracha, brown sugar and garlic in a small bowl.


Mix with whisk or fork until smooth. 


Add pasta, steak, shredded cabbage, carrots, cilantro and red pepper. 


 Serve with a squeeze of lime and chopped peanuts (if you can remember them... I forgot!).

 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Color Collection | Ribbons, Candles, LePens, Tags & Cards


As I mentioned last week, I've been updating and restocking my party supplies inventory... ribbons (including cotton ribbon!), candles, tags & cards - all part of my Color Collection.  I love this part of my store - it is something I wished I'd had available to me as an event planner.  So, I created this one spot where you can find everything you need to design a festive celebration, birthday, wedding or shower.



You can "Shop by Color" in the store, and below I've photographed all of the elements of some of color collections I have in store now.  Enjoy a little color fun and hopefully you'll find some inspiration for the next occasion you're planning.

Seaside


Ribbon :
1 1/2" Satin Ribbon
5/8" Grosgrain Ribbon

Candles : 
6" Celebration Candles 
15" Celebration Candles
12" Tapers
Thin Tapers

Paper Products :
Tags
Folded Cards
Place Cards
Favor Boxes

See the Seaside inspired table setting I did for the blog, here.



















Papaya Pashmina


Ribbon :
1 1/2" Satin Ribbon
5/8" Grosgrain Ribbon

Candles : 

6" Celebration Candles 
15" Celebration Candles
12" Tapers


Paper Products :
Tags
Folded Cards
Place Cards



Green : 
East Hampton Hedge & Concord Green 


Ribbon :
1 1/2" Satin Ribbon
5/8" Grosgrain Ribbon

Candles : 

12" Tapers


Paper Products :
Tags
Folded Cards
Place Cards
Tablet + LePens


Privet Berry Blue


Ribbon :
1 1/2" Satin Ribbon
5/8" Grosgrain Ribbon

Candles : 

12" Tapers


Paper Products :
Tags
Folded Cards
Place Cards
Tablet + LePens
 Emma's Pink, Papaya & Gold
This is one of my favorite combinations.  I've been drawn to all things in the color family lately - I think it will be the source of my next table setting inspiration.

Emma's Room Pink Collection
Papaya Pashmina Collection
Mizzou Gold Collection





What are your favorite color combinations for parties and entertaining?  Of course, I'm also a huge fan of mixing all shades of blue, from a pale powder blue to a deep navy, too.  I'd love to hear about the colors that you always look for, and that always seem to pop up in your home as accents. 

Hope you're having a great week!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Wedding Cake Cookies


 
I shared a photo of these last year, and never quite got around to sharing the recipe - sorry!  These are a cute addition to a bridal shower, rehearsal dinner or birthday party... if you change the name to Birthday Cake Cookies.  They are a mix between a sugar cookie and a chocolate chip cookie without the chocolate chip.  They are softer and chewier than a sugar cookie because of the addition of crisco, and there is no brown sugar, so they don't have that browned, caramel quality of a chocolate chip.

They taste like vanilla cake, cookies.  For me, what makes them "Wedding Cake Cookies" is the addition of almond extract to the icing.  The combination of vanilla cake and almond icing is so good - just like a wedding cake.   Of course, you can make the icing any color you'd like for more festive and fun occasions.  I think some silver dragees would dress these up for a bridal shower, too.

Wedding Cake Cookies


1/2 cup Crisco
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
2 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
......
1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, softened
4 cups of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of almond extract

For the cookie dough, mix together crisco and butter in a mixer until combined.  Add powdered sugar, mix until well combined.  Add eggs, water vanilla bean paste and mix.  Add dry ingredients - flour, baking soda and salt.  Mix until just combined - don't over mix.

Form into 1 1/2" balls, place them on a Parchment lined baking sheet then flatten them with the bottom of a glass.  It may help to put a bit of powdered sugar on the bottom of the glass to prevent it from sticking.

Bake at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes.  Do not over bake.  They should be slightly puffed, but not browned on the edges.

For the icing, mix together butter and powdered sugar until smooth.  Add almond extract and mix well.  Be sure to ice the cookies while still slightly warm to help the frosting meld with the cookies... however, don't ice them when they're too warm, or it will melt and slide right off!


Be generous with the icing - I just used a butter knife to swirl it on.  


Here they are packed up in a Seaside Blue Favor Box.  You can also use a clear Small Cello Bag (pictured above).  The Printable Labels make them look customized for a special occasion.

To see all of the details from this "Seaside Shower" inspiration table, click here.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Seaside Shower | Creamware Cupcake Stands


The "Shop By Color" Collection of my store is one of my favorite elements - party and entertaining supplies of coordinating colors.  There, you can find ribbons, cards, tags & candles all in matching colors.  In the last month, I've added a new "Party & Wedding" section that has more essentials for your next party, shower or wedding.  These Creamware Cupcake Stands are a new addition that I think are so darling.

For the next couple of weeks, I'm going to be featuring table settings and party inspiration using various combinations of my favorites.  I used to design and coordinate 2-3 showers a month for clients, and sometimes I miss getting to set a fun table decked out in matching, festive decorations.  So, I'm letting myself have some fun and set some pretend tables for imaginary parties I wish I was hosting : )


Today's color is Seaside.  As most of you know, Mike and I got married in Seaside, Florida almost 4 years ago.  While most of our wedding was done in Navajo Cream, Bliss Blue & Privet Berry Blue, we also used hints of Seaside.  My "Seaside" color is a soft aqua - very much the color of the water there in magical seaside.  

Here, Seaside 1 1/2" Satin Ribbon is tied around gold polka-dot wrapping paper... I love this paper, do you think I should try to carry it in the store?  

My Willow Gathering Basket filled with white hydrangeas got a makeover with some Seaside Satin Ribbon.

I set the table using my own Anna Weatherely china plates from our wedding that are a lovely soft blue with a gold rim.   Each place setting got a cupcake (on a stand, of course) and a place card with a Seaside Folded Card.


I created a very, very easy centerpiece by filling the table with white hydrangeas in drinking glasses.  I love how it filled the table in a mass looking very impressive... but was literally the easiest centerpiece I'd ever made.  I used 12" Hand Dipped Taper Candles in Navajo Cream in my pewter holders, but the Seaside color would've looked great, too.


You can see the mass of hydrangeas from this angle.  If I had tried to put all 8 of them in just one vase, it would've looked nearly as full or impressive.


Close up of the place card and cupcake stand.


 What is a pretend party without a pretend favor?  : )  These Favor Boxes are another new addition to the store - they come in a textured Cream and this Seaside color.  They are 3 1/4" x 3 1/4" x 1 7/8" when folded.  I used my Circle Printable Labels to make them look custom.

Here is the recipe for the yummy Wedding Cake Cookies.


LaMarca Prosecco sent me this beautiful bottle that inspired this post!  Love this for a Bridal Shower or gift for the wedding toast.  


These mini bottles make a perfect parting gift along with my "Wedding Cake Cookies."


Here is the easy-to-pin strip!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Interior Design Board | Our New Addition



Are you a little surprised about my design board a little?  I am.  In the last couple of years I've really warmed up to warm colors.  Last year I went on a holiday homes tour and toured a home that was just everything I love... even though it was a little different than what I thought I loved.  It just felt so right and was unlike any home I'd been in before.  It has really influenced me in the interior design of this home.  With that being said, I am also trying to stick with my roots, too - a very comfortable, cozy home that feels a little like a country farmhouse/cottage.  Did I just make a zillion contradictions?  Hopefully you're on the same page as me.



We've talked a lot about the kitchen for the new addition and the layout of the floor plan, but I haven't done too much writing about the interior design.  The plans have been approved and now we're just in the logistical stages of getting ready for construction... which means we are starting to make real decisions about finishes and ordering fixtures.  It can be overwhelming to do, but I think selecting furniture, rugs, artwork, appliances and fixtures before anything begins will save us a lot of trouble down the road.

So, I've tried to think about everything we are planning to put in our house, where it will go and will we have room for it.  That doesn't mean we'll purchase everything immediately (like the hand-knotted oriental rugs or antique chest...), but when it comes time, we'll have the space for it and (hopefully) it will fit into our plan. 


I would like the home to be completely neutral (cream walls and upholstery), with accents of rich and muted colors in rugs and artwork. All of the walls will be painted a creamy white like this photo (except bedrooms).  We're hoping there will be room in our budget to add some paneling accents that will be painted, too.  It is something we can do later, so if we're running over budget during construction, we might save it for another year.

I'm also embracing traditional rugs that contain reds, burnt oranges and deep navy blues.  Of course, I still like muted pale blue landscapes and seascapes in gilt frames (like the one Mike painted for me).   I've also discovered that I really like contrast, so instead of my typical in-between tones, I'm going for creamy walls and black accents... even debating soapstone counters. 



I love the traditional, easy, and season-less look of this house.  I want to make sure our wood floors are stained a similar warm walnut/chestnut color.



For the floor coverings, we'll have wood throughout the main areas, but use slate tiles in the mudroom.  I'll be adding a natural color runner up the stairs, in the new bedrooms and using similar throw rugs for accents in high traffic areas.


For light fixtures and door hardware, I like all un-lacquered brass that has a soft, antique finish.  I am still planning to use my favorite lanterns (above in my own dining room) from Cape Cod Lighting Co. everywhere I can.  I'm picturing them above the kitchen island, dining table, foyer and even one above our soaking tub in the bathroom. 



I also want to make sure we incorporate some creative details, like this vanity.  Would love this for the downstairs powder room.

What do you think?  I'd love to hear your thoughts about the soapstone vs. the marble or wood tops.  Thanks for all of your help!

 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Ice Cream with Hot Espresso = Affogato | My New Nespresso VertuoLine



I love simple.  I love easy.  I also love delicious and incredibly chic desserts.  Especially those that combine coffee and ice cream.  Meet, the Affogato, meaning "drowned" ice cream.  Italy, you've done it again.

We recently hosted a couple of couples for a very easy, relaxed dinner.  It was not the typical, outdoor barbeque party (though the grill was still involved), but a menu with more of a European flare - with a focus on simple and seasonal.  We sipped on chilled rose before dinner, and had grilled steaks marinated with rosemary, with a side of summer squash and parmesan gratin.

We served dinner outside, late after dark and set the table with potted herbs and lots of candles.  After, we lounged on our side porch and had affogatos for dessert.  It is the sort of party I imagine Italian people have every night of the week after the kids go to bed.  We enjoyed our little slice of dolce la vita.

You might remember around Christmas time, the very nice people at Nespresso sent me a Pixie and hosted a giveaway on my blog.  Well, a couple of months ago they sent me their newest machine, the VertuoLine.  It is the machine we've all been waiting for... it brews espresso and coffee.   As you can see from the photo, every cup (the coffee and espresso) is brewed in a very magical (my technical term) way that creates a frothy foam on top, even before adding any milk or cream.  The coffee underneath that creamy, caramel colored froth is a deep, rich brown.  I have loved my Pixie, but I have to say, I love having just one machine on my counter that does both coffee and espresso perfectly every time.
 

There is not really a recipe to this, it is literally just vanilla ice cream with hot espresso or strong coffee poured over the top.


For this cup, I actually used a coffee pod.  You can see how rich it is.  It really is just heavenly.  I recommend using the decaf espresso for late night parties like ours.


I like to serve my guests (or just myself...) the ice cream in a mug, then bring a mini pitcher of the espresso around to pour over the ice cream.  After each bite, the ice cream melts a little more and the espresso turns into a cold, creamy drinkable treat.  The perfect grownup luxury after a hot day. 


A nice crumbly cookie or piece of chocolate would be a great treat to go along with it, too. 


Visit the Nespresso site to read more about their new VertuoLine.  Thanks Nespresso for the new machine... it has gotten a lot of use!

The Everyday Occasions Store:
m15
m16
m18
m21
home entertaining and ifestyle expert
pinterest
twitter
instagram
my email newsletter
rss feed
facebook
my tablet +
m37
fresh strawberry cupcakes
m42
m45
m60
breakfast
m65
chocolate molten cakes in cupcake
miss emma
m70
festive
m74
peachscones1
corn1
tagsandcards1
IMG9
IMG10

everyday
Subscribe