Month: November 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you’re enjoying your family, friends, loved ones and pets today.

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Yup, that’s me many Thanksgivings ago. I feel so blessed the word thankful doesn’t feel like enough. As someone in the later half of my 20s I’m amazed by how much I learn and grow year over year. It becomes easier to understand what makes my family tick, why I am the way I am and why the people in my life (both near and far) are so important to me.

In the age of “busy” it’s not easy to stop and take a minute to tune out the digital distractions and tune into you and your family. Among all the holiday chaos today I hope you have the chance to enjoy whatever it is you’re thankful for.

Cheers to the good food, warm hugs and funny stories you’ll share today. I hope you’re able to relax and take it all in.

Autumn Dinner Party

You’re cordially (virtually) invited to my autumn dinner party…

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I hosted a small dinner party for six a few weeks ago to toast the season and informally celebrate my BFF Laura’s birthday. The table setting was one of my best so I decided it was too good not to share.

You probably won’t be surprised to see succulents gracing the table. I used some purple and cream echeveria cuttings paired with seeded eucalyptus and leafy foliage to create a natural centerpiece.

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And some smaller cream succulent rosettes graced the napkins.

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I spent an embarrassing amount of time cutting out some leaf place cards by hand.

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With only four guests (six including my husband and I) place cards weren’t necessary but they added a touch of whimsy to the table. I’ve read that giving your guests a reserved spot at the table eases the worry of where to sit and I think there’s something to be said for that.

We planned to have a fire outside after dinner so I used candles and ornamental kale to give the back yard a more festive fall feel.

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You can easily recreate the rustic candle holders with two terracotta pots, two cylindrical glass vases and some green preserved moss. I’ve had them on my table for the past few weeks through all sorts of weather and they still look great.

I even spruced up the powder room with two stems of succulent rosettes and some extra seeded eucalyptus in a clear vase. Small touches like this are easy and they help make your home feel extra special for your guests.

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On to the important part –the food! I served the meal in four courses to be a little fancy shmancy.

We had acorn squash soup.

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I didn’t use a recipe to make this and just sort of flew by the seat of my pants. I roasted the squash cut side down in a 400 degree oven (smothered in olive oil, sea salt and cinnamon) for an hour until it got nice and soft. I sautéed some garlic in a large Dutch oven and scooped the squash into after it had a chance to cool. Then I added some chicken broth, stirred and let it summer for about 30 minutes. After adding some salt, pepper and a little cream I puréed it with an immersion blender and it was ready to serve! For an added touch I topped it with a few springs of fried sage and roasted pumpkin seeds. Yum!

The second course was a delicious fall salad made with spring mix topped with dried cherries, pomegranate seeds, Gorgonzola, red onion and pumpkin seeds dressed with a lite Italian vinaigrette.

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Next was the main course — prosciutto sautéed Brussels sprouts and stuffed chicken breasts. I got both of these recipes from Skinnytaste. You can find them here and here.

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And to top it all off I made gingerbread tiramisu for dessert served with espresso. I used my friend Laura’s recipe because it’s AMAZING and the flavors scream fall (hello pumpkin pie spice and gingersnaps). You can get it here.

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I opted to serve the tiramisu in individual vintage punch glasses for an extra special touch. They took a little more prep before the party but were super easy to grab out of the fridge and go when it was time for dessert. Laura’s recipe made 10 of these little guys so I had some left over. I wasn’t mad about it.

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It was a very special night and we all decided we should have formal, fancy dinners more often. Maybe I’ll host another for the holidays? Or to combat the winter blues in January? Who knows, but I hope it’s soon!

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Just remember the most important thing is to make your guests feel welcome and relaxed so don’t try anything outside of your comfort zone for a dinner party setting. Rely on your favorite recipes and think of a way to elevate them — like serving dessert in punch cups instead of bowls. Little touches go a long way when you’re entertaining. Now go call your friends and invite them to dinner! 🙂

Sunday Football Baked Potato Bar

Sundays for me mean two things: football and good food. Today we’re hanging out at Mike’s Uncle’s house to watch the Eagles game.

When we get together at Uncle Brian’s we each bring something yummy and always else up having some sort of epic meal. Seafood lasagna, antipasto, steak, fresh caught perch and homemade meatballs to name a few.

Today, we’re having prime rib (!!!) so I decided to make a baked potato bar to go with it.

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For the potatoes, I simply scrubbed them, poked a ton of holes in the skin, rubbed them with almond oil to lend a nice nutty flavor and sprinkled the skin with course sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Then I put them right on the rack in a 350 degree oven for 75 minutes. They were done a bit early so I turned off the oven and left them in there for an additional 30 minutes and they got nice and soft inside and crispy outside without burning.

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I threw together a fixin’s bar using my glass chips-and-dip platter with sour cream, butter, chopped bacon, finely chopped chives and shredded cheddar cheese. Everything you could possibly want to top your spuds!

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Now it’s time to eat. I hope you get the chance to relax and enjoy your family today.

Go EAGLES!! 🙂

#succulentaddict

So, don’t promise to start blogging more when you’re jumping head first into a new job. It leads to yet another blogging hiatus. Sorry about that.

These beauties have been keeping me busy…

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I’ve fallen (even more) head over heels for succulents since starting my job at ArizonaEast (don’t visit our website yet — that’s one of the projects on my docket) and have been learning A LOT!

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The beauty of signing on with a small, quickly growing company is that I’m marrying my PR skills, marketing know-how, branding expertise and social media savvy with this crazy new world of business strategy, logistics, growth projections, business development and product design. Do you have any idea how hard it was just come up with a title for my position? #LinkedInproblems.

But the chance to see a company explode with growth right in front if my eyes is exciting, and the opportunity to get up from my desk a few times a day to put my hands in the dirt and create products from such gorgeous plants is truly soothing to my soul (and my strained eyes). I feel blessed every day at the unique opportunity I’ve been given at such an early time in my career.

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To be honest, blogging hasn’t been what I thought it’d be. I found myself being too much of a perfectionist to post regularly and that’s just not keeping it real. So with the business of starting a new job I opted to ignore the blog rather than posting anything less than ‘the best.’ What is the best, anyway?

I’m realizing every post doesn’t have to be an amazingly intricate DIY project. I have to remember the whole point of blogging is opening up and letting you guys get a glimpse of my (not so) fabulous life whether it’s picture perfect or not. And what IS real is the fact that I LOVE all the DIY projects, crafts, cooking, entertaining and decorating that was my motivation for starting this blog — but there’s more to me. So buckle up and get ready to accompany me on this journey that is La Vie de Brie. It’s not perfect, but it’s me. And that’s a-okay in my book.

If you agree, leave me a comment to let me know you’re with me!

Xo,
Brie

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