Outdoor Entertaining : Easter Brunch

Easter brunch ideas.So I’m trying out a new idea.  I’ve been wanting to do a series of entertaining ideas shot at night.  I love to do things that are more conceptual and non-traditional and have always been afraid to do it because I didn’t know how you all would respond.  Also, I am an amateur photographer at best and I didn’t know if I’d be able to pull it off.  I think it turned out ok, but more importantly it was super fun and challenging to do.  I’d like to keep doing these and hopefully will get a better grip on how to produce these kinds of shoots.  I wanted it to come off more magazine like but I’m not sure that it did.  I did this the other night when my husband was not home so not only was I trying to shoot and style in the dark, I had one ear open trying to listen for the kids in the living room (or telling them to go back to the living room because they kept trying to steal the Peeps).  So here is what I think the perfect Easter brunch looks like.  I’m not suggesting you do it as a picnic I just thought grass was the perfect spring backdrop.  And I’m not suggesting you lay it out this way.  I am simply suggesting a few ideas in one place.

tulips and mini carnationsSo tulips are awesome.  And I was pleasantly surprised by the mini white carnations I found at the grocery.  For years I never used fresh flowers in any of my parties.  I felt like they were expensive and a cop-out.  Do you all see how I over think everything?  But I now realize that fresh flowers really do add something special to a table.  It has been really fun learning about and paying attention to flowers more lately.  Tulips in spring colors are the perfect accompaniment to your Easter brunch table.  And while usually the kids are sent home with Easter baskets, why not break the centerpiece up in to smaller bunches and send them home with all the ladies.

It isn't Easter without peeps. I can’t think of an easier way to make everyone at brunch happy than by serving Peeps.  They are nostalgic, fun and pumped full of sugar.  I can think of nothing better.  This season in particular I have been noticing an abundance of new Easter themed goodies like these swirly, fruit, egg-shaped marshmallows.  How darling would these large marshmallows look in a cup of hot chocolate for the kiddos?  I like to lay out some sweets so there are some fun nibbles while waiting for the full meal to get to the table.  I guarantee you will not just see kid’s hands reaching for those things.

large tassels for Easter Brunch decorI’ve got to say, I am NOT over tassels just yet.  But I wanted them to be a little different so I made these extra-large ones.  I will share the tutorial next week but I think they would be perfect for a really simple wall decor.  Add a little hand-cut Happy Easter sign and your ready for brunch.

pastels for Easter brunch decor.The basis for my overall color scheme was this rad scarf I found at Forever 21.  I am in love with scarves for entertaining.  They are super versatile and usually much less expensive than tablecloths.  I added some coordinating napkins and think it is the perfect color for a spring brunch.

Blood orange gin and tonic floats for Easter brunch.  Or anyime.For the drink I would serve a Blood Orange Gin and Tonic float.  What I love about this is that it provides a few options for drinks so your guests can fix a drink they truly like.  The blood orange sorbet adds a wonderful sweetness that women typically love.  But if you skip it, you’ve got your basic gin and tonic.  I’ll be sharing that recipe next week also.  And because the float tastes better as the sorbet melts, you don’t have to worry about keeping the container out of the freezer to long, it will only help the drinks.  Yeah!

Choose a basic idea for brunch and then look for a twist on the classic.My extended family likes to stick with their tried and true recipes.  I always try to do that but sometimes I want to find a a twist that I know they will still like.  You know your family best so think about the flavors they enjoy and see if you can introduce new dishes with those flavors.  For the frittata I would choose this one.  Doesn’t this french toast sound amazing?!  And of course bacon.  But I would also throw in some of this for a special treat.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this new series or tips to shoot it better!  And while it is still a few weeks away, I’ll wish you a Happy Easter now in case I forget. :)

 

Spring Pinterest Party #SpringMakes

#springmakes Pinterest Party! You guys!  I’m hosting a Pinterest party tonight with some fab ladies.  You won’t want to miss it.  We are talking all things spring! There are a few prizes up for grabs and a whole heck of a lot of fun inspiration.  I’ve been addicted to Pinterest lately!  So come play with me!  6 – 7 pm Pacific Time!  Feel free to pin away!  Just make sure to use the #SpringMakes hashtag.  Read all the details over on Melissa Creates!  She also has links to all the co-hosts pages so you can check them out!  I hope to see you on Pinterest tonight!  Big ups to Melissa for putting this all together!  She’s the best.

 

Salami and Peperoncini Pizza

I’d like to just take a second to acknowledge the fact that this is my 1,000th post.  Wow!  Do they make a card for that?  I’d also like to say Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

I took my favorite sandwich and turned it in to a sandwich.  Salami and pepperoncini with a garlic butter sauce.  Make it. I’ve been meaning to post this Salami and Peperoncini pizza recipe for a while now.  I basically took my favorite sandwich, that my grandmother used to make for us, and turned it in to a pizza.  So I would keep buying the ingredients, and then my family would eat them all up, in sandwich form, before I could try this out!  The nerve.  But I finally timed it just right so I could actually give it a try.

This pizza is super simple and super tasty. Haters gonna hate but I love Boboli.  It is the perfect way to make making homemade pizzas even easier.  I love that it never gets soggy.  I love the flavor and I love that it lets me be sort of lazy.  And I also love that it is a little breadier than others which I think works perfect in this case since this is based on a sandwich anyway.  The only real prep work I had to do for this was cut the onion which is optional anyway.

This store-bought garlic butter makes a perfect base for a nontraditional pizza.I looked around online trying to find a garlic-buttery sauce to make for the base.  But then I saw the garlic and herb flavor Saute Express when I was at the store and decided to give that a shot.  It worked perfectly.  (This is not in any way sponsored.  I just think this was a great addition to the pizza.  It is also the only way I have ever used this product so I can’t vouch for how it works the way it was intended).

I heart pre made pizza crusts.  They are perfect for easy weeknight meals.  I just melted the garlic and herb butter and spread it on the crust.

A fun twist on pizza night.  Salami and pepper pizza with garlic butter. And then I layered on the ingredients.  I used an Italian cheese mix that included provolone (which is what the sandwiches are usually made with).  The peperoncinis were pre-sliced, I just drained them a second on a paper towel.  And then I added the sliced red onion to half the pizza so I could try it with and without.  The onions are the one ingredient that I would sometimes leave off my sandwich and sometimes leave on.  On this particular day I was pretty indifferent to them.  But I tell you what, I ate that whole pizza.  On a side note I think I have a minor food allergy to onions.  Self diagnosed of course.  But if I have a minor headache and then eat onions it never goes away no matter what I take.  And sometimes I think they give me a headache.  WTF onions?

Salami and pepper pizza with garlic butter sauce.Would you ever try this?  Or are you a pizza purist?  I am totally in to nontraditional pizzas but the rest of my family…not so much.  In the future I should probably make this on the individual sized crusts so I don’t end up in a carb coma.

Salami and Pepperoncini pizza.  So good! This is good.  Real good.  I will be making this again.

FYI, this recipe is super vague.

Salami and Peperoncini Pizza

Ingredients

  • One pizza crust (I used Boboli but can be homemade or another brand of pre-made crust)
  • One cube Garlic and Herb flavored Saute Express (or homemade garlic butter sauce - find your own dang recipe...)
  • Package of sliced Salami (I use the prepackaged kind but your deli counter will also have some)
  • Up to 2 cups of shredded Italian cheese mix with provolone (the mix usually also includes mozzarella, and asiago plus one or two others)
  • Sliced peperoncinis (Found by the pickles - the ones I use are by Mezzetta and say "Deli-Sliced Golden Greek Peperoncini
  • Red onion, thinly sliced.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 ish degrees (as per instructions on your pizza crust. If you are making a homemade crust I might par bake it before putting on the toppings.)
  2. Melt one cube of Garlic and Herb flavored Saute Express.
  3. Brush or spoon garlic butter on to pizza crust.
  4. Top with Italian cheese mix (up to 2 cups - your preference)
  5. Top with salami slices, sliced peperoncini and red onion if you are using.
  6. Bake until melty and golden in spots.
http://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/salami-and-peperoncini-pizza/

 

7 Great Marmalade and Jam Cocktails

Mmmmmm.  Marmalade cocktails are awesome. So I am kind of in love with the idea of using marmalade in my cocktails.  Especially orange marmalade.  It is both sweet and sour and that appeals to me very much.  I thought you could probably just add it to champagne to do a fun take on a mimosa.  But it was missing something.  So I decided to do a search for marmalade and jam cocktail recipes so I can learn how to build a better drink.

There are so many variations of marmalade cocktails.  Have you tried them?

A gin based cocktail from Food Network.

Another one that is gin based but adding a little Campari from Food Republic.

Here is a Brunch Punch made with vodka and orange marmalade.

Check out the Weissen Sour with both beer and bourbon.

Gin and jam cocktail from Honestly Yum.

A whiskey based cocktail with fig jam.

Lemon Verbena and Raspberry Jamtini.  Doesn’t that sound refreshing!

Champagne and marmalade is a new take on a mimosa.And here is a GREAT article for how to make the best cocktails with jams and marmalades.  There IS a formula.  I was totally missing the citrus.  Looks like I better try to make some more…Cheers!

Acai Bowl for Breakfast

I'm currently obsessed with acai bowls and decided to make them at home.Obsessed.  Totally obsessed.  I am obsessed with acai bowls for breakfast and afternoon snacks.  Or sometimes lunch.  And maybe after dinner.  Have you ever had one?  They are pretty easy to find now, like at Juice it Up or Nektar.  But I just got a Ninja and decided it was finally time to start making them at home.

Acai bowls are a great healthier breakfast ideaYou can buy the acai packets at Costco (thanks for the tip, Genette!) and then you just need a few other ingredients.  I followed this recipe here.  The only problem is that my youngest son always tries to share with me.  But this – mama doesn’t want to share.  Do you make them at home?  What do you put on yours?