Last Minute Hostess Gifts on Pinterest #holiday #entertaining

Quick! You've been invited to a last minute celebration, and you have no idea what to take for the hostess! Here are five quick and easy projects to help you out


Clockwise from top Right

Rit Dye Note Cards by Snaps of Ginger - Simple and sweet, and if your hostess throws alot of parties, she will certainly appreciate some stationery!

Dipped Utensils from HGTV - An incredibly easy project, and one that can be delegated to your children if you are in an extra time crunch trying to get everything ready to go to the hostesses home! Just get some wooden utensils and paint from the dollar store, dip, and dry!

Antler Ornaments from Tatertots and Jello - With it being Christmas and all, some simple glitter dipped antlers add a charming touch to home decor and a Christmas tree!

Black and White Wine Carafe on the DecoArt Blog - One of my favorite projects and it was so easy to whip up. Bring a bottle of wine, or two plain glasses!

DIY Vanilla Coffee Sugar Scrub by designed by dawn nicole - Just fill a mason jar with the mixture, tie with some ribbon and you're good to go!


No matter which project you go with, your hostess will be pleasantly surprised, I promise you that! These also make great last minute gifts for any woman on your list, and great stocking stuffers too!
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The Easiest Trifle You Will Ever Make...Ever #recipe #holiday #dessert

This Spring, we were invited to the first BBQ potluck of the season and I was assigned dessert. More specifically, "cookies, dessert or ju jubes"

So I did what any good guest would do and tried to make a dessert that was super yummy and would be a home run.


Ingredients

1 pkg of Oreo cookies
1 pkg of Two Bite Brownies
11 Reese Peanut Butter Cups
2 large tubs of Cool Whip
1 small tub of Cool Whip

Layer 1: Cool Whip
Layer 2: chopped Reese Peanut Butter Cups
Layer 3: Cool Whip
Layer 4: crushed Oreo cookies
Layer 5: Cool Whip
Layer 6: chopped Two Bite Brownies, chopped Reese Peanut Butter cups, crushed Oreo cookies
Layer 7: Cool Whip
Layer 8: chopped Reese Peanut Butter Cups

Garnish with a whole Oreo and halved Two Bite Brownie


Seriously...that's it. Pretty much the easiest trifle recipe ever, and it was incredibly delicious.

Set in the fridge to firm up for 1 hour prior to serving. 

Variations

Add some chocolate pudding to your cool whip and alternate layers of regular cool whip with chocolate pudding whip
Add pound cake instead of brownies
Drizzle melted chocolate over the top before setting in the fridge.

Enjoy!

(and PS: there's no shame in licking the bowl or your plate when you are finished your portion)
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Holiday #Hostess Tips #holidayentertaining

December is here and that means hosting brunches, Christmas Eve dinner, attending Boxing Day celebrations, school parties and who knows what else. It can get a little overwhelming to keep everything straight, and be a great hostess while you're stressed to the max.

Minimizing your stress level is the key to being a good hostess during the holidays. This means being prepared, making lists, and delegating jobs.



Be Prepared

Last minute events and guests will happen...it is the holidays, afterall! The key is to anticipate these things happening, and be prepared with the events that you are hosting so that you aren't stressed when you get invitations to last minute celebrations, and can fit them into your busy hostess schedule.

Prep your appetizers ahead of time, set out platters the night before your gathering, and set up the bar the evening before as well.You will find the morning of party day so less stressful, and will be able to enjoy the festivities much easier!

Delegate

I always make a honey-do list for my Husband, and now get our four year-old to pitch in with tidying toys and helping keep the house clean.

Delegate jobs like grocery shopping or trips to get wine, setting the table for a dinner party, doing the laundry. Order appetizers from a local caterer if you're serving a big group, and always always order the cake from a bakery!

Plan a Signature Drink

Instead of having a full bar that will need to be restocked and monitored throughout your entire event, do a punch and have a few bottles of alcohol for mix. This way, you have a non alcoholic and alcoholic option for everyone. Vodka, rum and rye are great options for the bar, and a simple punch recipe is below!

1 bottle Sprite
1 can of lemonade or limeade (prepared as per recipe on the can)
2 cups frozen berries (cranberries, strawberries or blueberries)
Ice

Clean-up

Clean-up the night before, and wake up to a relatively clean home! We usually put out recyclables and load the dishwasher to run overnight. When we wake up, it is usually just tidying up from the evening before, emptying and reloading the dishwasher, and sweeping the floors. Much more manageable, and less stress!
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Holiday Cakes on Pinterest #holiday #entertaining

If you are prepping to entertain this Thanksgiving or Christmas, you likely are wracking your brain for an impressive dessert to serve your guests. I always love serving up a cake or cupcake recipe, and try to do something unexpected to impress my guests. Often, the most impressive desserts are the simplest, but sometimes special holidays call for over-the-top and yummy cakes!


Clockwise from Top Right

I'm not going to lie, this Molten Peanut Butter and Chocolate Lava Cake made me weak in the knees. A combination that was just meant to be, the presentation is stunning and it certainly is something that will impress your guests!

For Autumn and Winter, you can't go wrong with a bundt cake. They're also super easy to do, and require less work than individual cakes or cupcakes since you can whip up a tasty glaze and drizzle it over your cake. This Spiced Rum Cake is an easy recipe that you can throw together in no time.

Caramel apples are synonymous with Fall, so it stands to reason that a caramel apple cake would be fitting for a fall celebration. Again, a beautiful presentation, this Caramel Apple Cake is impressive and tasty!

My own creation, Vanilla Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Ganache Filling and Chocolate Buttercream. A mouthful, but a tasty one, I assure you!

And finally, a Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcake. Flourless cakes are known for being sinful and rich, and I haven't met one that I didn't like yet! This recipe combines just 6 ingredients to make these little beauties!

Whipping up an impressive fall dessert doesn't have to take a tonne of time or ingredients, as you can see from the five recipes featured above. It's all about presentation and combining yummy flavors together!

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Halloween Treat Roundup #pinterest #halloween

Hosting a halloween gathering this weekend, and on the search for some yummy treats to serve your guests? Here are 5 Halloween Desserts and Treats that are sure to make your dessert table pop!


Clockwise from top Right

Halloween Jello Jigglers from Terrell Family Fun - Jello Jigglers are something that I've actually never made with my son; can you believe it!? Something about the texture tells me that he won't like eating them, but the fun is in the creation process, right?

Butterfinger Brownie Cake from Building Our Story - Butterfingers are something that are a rare find here in Canada, but you can usually get them around Halloween so this recipe is perfect! I think I would drizzle it with white chocolate and melted marshmallows so it looks like a spider web!

White Chocolate Dipped Oreo Mummy Pops from Like Mother Like Daughter - you had me at Oreo. Anything with oreos is awesome, and these pops look fantastically frightening!

Mummy Pretzels from Midwestern Girl - My favourite part about these treats (aside from how easy they are to whip up!) are the eyes! SO AWESOME!!

Witches Hat Cookies from A Grande Life - This super easy treat is one that your little ones can help out with, then take to school for a classroom treat!


What is your favorite Halloween treat to have out at your party? Mine is definitely Oreo bark, which is always gobbled up within minutes of guests arriving! just melted white chocolate and crushed oreos...sweet and simple!
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Strawberry Almong Baked Brie #appetizer #recipe

One of the dishes that I typically make when we are having family over for a holiday meal is a baked brie. I've done them in the past with nuts and brown sugar, apples and maple syrup, and apricot jelly and jalapenos, but this time I wanted to try a recipe that would be more of a dessert baked brie.


Ingredients

Large brie wheel
strawberries
sugar
sliced almonds

Chop your strawberries into small pieces and mix with a tablespoon of sugar. Pop this in the fridge, covered, for about an hour so that the strawberries create a syrup.

Once the hour is up, slice your brie to create two wheels. Place one wheel in your brie baker with the rind down, then fill with your strawberry mixture. Top with sliced almonds.


Next, place your second brie wheel, rind down, on top of your first. Top with the rest of your strawberries and more almonds.



Bake at 300F for about 15minutes, or until mice and melty.


Since this is a sweeter baked brie, we served it with sodium reduced Triscuit crackers and traditional Ritz crackers.

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Christmas Dessert Roundup from Pinterest

We all know that holiday entertaining means hours spent in the kitchen, slaving over appetizers and desserts to delight our holiday guests.

Well here's a little Christmas Dessert Roundup, all from Pinterest, that are sure to dazzle your guests!

Peppermint Fudge Pie from Better Homes and Gardens

Chocolate Candy Cane cookies

Candy Cane Biscotti by Annies Eats

Christmas Poke Bake from All Free Casserole Recipes

Candy Cane Centre Brownies by Picky Palate

I think it's safe to say that chocolate and peppermint take centre stage when it comes to Christmas desserts.other popular themes are too-tall deserts in red and green, like what you would see on the table in Whoville, as well as hot chocolate bars complete with chocolate dipped marshmallows and spoons!

For more holiday inspiration, check out my Happy Holidays board on Pinterest.
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Holiday Centerpiece ideas from Pinterest

With the holidays right around the corner, it's time to get your tables pretty. You never know when unexpected guests will drop in for some holiday cheer!

Dress your tables with various textures and stick to a color scheme that fits with the rest of your decor. This year, we will be having lots of burlap, crochet details, chalkboard elements and ribbon. I guess you could say that we are going with a rustic theme this year, so this tablescape caught my eye when I saw it on Pinterest


Simple for an intimate dinner, and since our Christmas plans are to stay cozy at home, my plan is to make my husband a nice dinner after we've tucked out little guy into bed.

The bundle of cinnamon sticks, tied with pretty ribbon, would fit our decor really nicely and bring a lovely aroma into our home for a candlelight dinner.

How do you dress up your table for the holidays?

For more inspiration, check out my Happy Holidays board on Pinterest!
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All that Glitters

You know it's that time....

office parties
winter bridal showers
winter engagements
drinks with the girls

Really...everything about the holidays is an excuse to get dressed up, and even better when you can find an outfit that sparkles!

Winter Party Fashion 2013



Phase Eight sequin top
52 CAD - houseoffraser.co.uk


Topshop skirt
21 CAD - topshop.com


Purple shoes
5.68 CAD - attitudeclothing.co.uk


Ted Baker leather purse
160 CAD - johnlewis.com


Juicy couture jewelry
43 CAD - zappos.com



There is SO much about this outfit that I adore. Fire and foremost, the lace detail and the peplum - a match made in heaven! When paired together, they create the perfect outfit for drinks out with the girls, with some favulous feels of course, and when you add a sparkly gold blazer...office party!

Keeping accessories simple is key with this outfit. Since there is lace, peplum, amazing sparkly heels and the gold blazer, I wanted those pieces to shine, but still be complimented by the perfect accessories.

Clutches are my absolutely favourite handbag, and this Ted Baker one is perfect with the gold T bar detail.

And you can never go wrong with a pair of sparkly studs!

Happy party outfit shopping! Remember, you'll be the belle of the ball if you glitter in some gold!
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Peppermint Hot Chocolate on Pinterest

With December right around the corner, soon holiday guests will start coming through the doors and you'll want something festive and delicious to greet them with.

When I saw this yummy treat come up in my Pinterest feed (thanks Baby Shmizz!), I thought it would be that number one memorable thing to have on hand for when guests come to our door this Christmas.


Peppermint ice cream
Hot Chocolate
Peppermint ribbon candy

DELISH! I can hardly wait to invite our friend and family over!

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Thanksgiving Entertaining for Fall 2013

Entertaining and hosting celebration tops my list of favorite things to do. Since Canadian Thanksgiving is over, but American Thanksgiving is upon us, I thought that I would share my inspiration for Thanksgiving Entertaining this Fall 2013

Thanksgiving Entertaining 2013



Soups are a super easy dish to make {and make ahead!} when you're entertaining. Fall is perfect for conjuring up a delicious soup, such as butternut squash or roasted vegetable. Have our friends over for a harvest lunch, and serve it with rustic farmers bread, lightly toasted in the oven.

I'm finding that wreaths these days are all looking the same, so when I found the one above, from Pier 1, I fell in love with it. It's rustic, but has the look of a metal worked piece of art.

Pies are so popular for Thanksgiving desserts, but think outside of the pumpkin and apple box. This fudge pecan pie looks to.die.for!

Serve up a fun cocktail to your Thanksgiving guests! Think pomegranate, blood orange, and cider mixed with champagne!

Set the tone for your gathering with yummy vanilla pumpkin candles!

And last but not least, give your guests a little parting gift. Caramel apples tied with beautiful ribbon are perfect for Thanksgiving entertaining!

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Fabulous Finds Friday: Pomegranate Champagne

A good cocktail can go a very long way, espeically when you're entertaining family and friends for the holidays.



Fizzy and delicious, and festively red!! Pomegranate juice with champagne! I cannot wait to serve this over the holidays...it's just wonderful!

And for an extra little touch of magical, try freezing the pomegranate seeds in your ice cubes, or maybe even a mint leaf or two.

Fabulous Finds Friday: Rosemary Oven Roasted Potatoes

One thing that comes along wit the holdiays, is entertaining the masses. Friends...family...children...playdates...mom groups - soon they'll be converging on your home, and you better be ready!

Fear not!! I bring you Fabulous find this month to make holiday entertaining easy!



Rosemary Oven Roasted Potatoes...probably one of the easiest side dishes to make, and one that you can prep in advance, toss in the oven for a while and then serve...

What's even better, is how incredibly impressive, and tasty they are! Play with your seasonings, salts, and oils...or keep it simple with fresh sprigs of rosemary!

Happy entertaining!

Guest Blogger: Erin Has a Blog





The HOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLIIIIDDDDDDDDDAAAAAAAAYYYSSSSSSSS are almost here!  Ahhhh!  Anyone else feeling that time crunch to a) decorate, b) shop for gifts, and c) get organized!!?!?

Yea, me neither!

NOT!

Ok, so for those of you who aren’t familiar with my blog (which I’m sure is all of you!), I tend to attempt to do things (like recipes, crafts and activities in general), and write about it.  This guest post will be no different, so thanks Shannon for having me.

I was really stuck at what I wanted to attempt for this post.  Should I make some sort of decoration?  I did that last year when I attempted to make a Christmas wreath (though in my defense, it was pretty good for a first attempt).  Should I talk about decorating for the holidays?  All my decorating tips come literally directly from Martha Stewart’s holiday mags, so maybe plagiarism is not the best idea here.  What I did come up with was baking.  Baking is always fun!  AND always has the chance of either being superbly amazing, OR horribly inedible.  How did my baking go you ask?  Well my friends, let’s just say it didn’t get eaten. 

A gong show would be the best way to describe it.


Nothing says holidays like the smell of cinnamon in the air.  Mmmmmm cinnamon!  I don’t care what time of the year it is, my favourite pie is always pumpkin!  I just cannot get enough of it!  So as per usual, my first step in wanting to cook/bake anything is to Google recipes.  BAM!!!!  Like a bazillion hits come up for pumpkin pie, and like most normal people, I choose the first one.  It’s first, so it must be good right?  For whatever reason, I didn’t take any pictures of the pie (blogger fail, I know!), but you must take my word for it when I say it looked pretty normal.  A little more orangey than pumpkin pie usually is, but the recipe called for pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling.  It also strangely left out sugar.  That is where the recipe took a turn for the worst I feel. 

It was mushy, not sweet at all… just kind of gooey.  I couldn’t even finish one piece.  It was so very sad. 

The baking fail doesn’t just end there though, oh no, it gets worse (and this, I have pictures of!).  So, what tastes delicious with pumpkin pie (or any pie for that matter?!)?  Whip cream!  Mmmmmm whip cream!  Before this whole baking monstrosity happened, I had purchased a carton of whipping cream and was extremely excited to make for the first time ever, my own whip cream (as opposed to buying an aerosol).  I pour it all out into a bowl, and start whipping first with a whisk.  I’m whipping, and whipping and whipping, and really thinking it’s taking forever.  So I pull out my hand held mixer, and I mix, and mix and mix and it’s getting frothy, but not firming up at all.  So I mix a little more, and still a little more…..

Can you guess where I’m going with this?  I totally bought table cream.  Two thumbs down for this blogger.    Anywho, lessons learned today were: 1. Always put sugar in pumpkin pie (even when the recipe does not call for it), and 2.  Always check carton of cream for the words “Whipping Cream”.


Erin is the blogger being Erin Has a Blog, where she writes about every day life, food, travel and trying new things. Read more about her daily life and adventures here!