Tag: entertaining

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! 🙂

Pickle Martinis

Last Saturday night was an increasingly rare chance for us to let loose and have fun in the city. We love heading to Philly to have dinner at some of the great restaurants, but we’ve left the bar scene behind us for the most part – except for when Luke Elliot and His Band are playing. Yup, that’s the name of my good friend Dan’s band. He’s the drummer, and he also happens to be one of Mike’s good friends. Oh, and did I mention Mike and I introduced him to one of my best friends Brittany and they’ve been together for a few years now? Yup, we can add matchmaker to our long list of talents. 😉 But anyway, about that pickle martini I tried Saturday night for the first time…

Pickle Martini

While the band was rocking the house, Britt suggested we order pickle martinis to try something new in the spirit of a fun night out. Of course I was game! It was like no other drink I’ve tried. I swear it tasted just like a Wawa Italian hoagie, and immediately knew I wanted to recreate it at home. After researching a variety of recipes, I landed on one that I thought would have a little less ‘hoagie’ taste. The straight-from-the-deli version I tried on Saturday was fun as a novelty drink, but it wasn’t really something I’d make a staple in my repertoire.

Below is the recipe I came up with. Note, this recipe is for two martinis, and these are the ingredients/glassware I used to make my martinis.

Pickle Martini Ingredients

Pickle Martini

Ingredients

  • 5 oz gin
  • 2 oz pickle juice
  • 1 oz vermouth
  • 2 small pickles (for garnish)

Process

Pour gin, pickle juice and vermouth into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake for about a minute. Skewer a small dill pickle on a swizzle stick and place one in each martini glass. Pour half of cocktail mixture into each glass. Voila, it’s that simple!

Pickle Martini with Vermouth

I thought this could be an unusual, savory drink to serve at a holiday get together. What neat drink recipes have you stumbled upon lately? Would you give pickle martinis a try?