Summer Picnics are #NaturallyAmazing

*This post is sponsored by French’s, a #NaturallyAmazing product.  All opinions are mine.

A clean eating dinner picnic.  #sponsored #NaturallyAmazing @frenchsfoods //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMy kids ask for a dinner picnic almost every single night during summer.  And fall.  And spring.  So we try to have them as much as possible.  There is something absolutely magical about sitting outside as the sun turns golden.  Eating outside brings an entirely different energy to dinner time.  It is much more casual and playful.  And the food is always kept simple and fresh.  This picnic set up shared through out this post, however, is a dream scenario.  In our real dinner picnics, the blanket gets all wrinkled, plates get kicked over and there is grass.  Lots of grass.  Everywhere.  This is what summer picnics would look like if my kids were robots that I could control with a remote control.

Lavender lemonade is the perfect drink to bring to a picnic or potluck.  #sponsored #NaturallyAmazing @frenchsfoods  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMy robot children would willingly try all the wonderful and delicious foods that I love.  They would not be afraid of things that sound a little bit different.  They wouldn’t turn their noses up at lavender lemonade.  They would drink it and be instantly transformed in to a wonderfully relaxed state of mind.  They would never ask for soda even though they know they only drink it very rarely.

Fresh veggies and a tangy mustard based dip are a great dish to bring to a picnic.  #sponsored #NaturallyAmazing @frenchsfoods  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI am very lucky that my kids do, in fact, like vegetables.  They don’t hesitate to grab them off a buffet table and never complain when I send them in their lunches.  Up until a little while ago, my oldest son couldn’t eat anything with milk in it so he never really had anything to dip them in.  We are very fortunate that he seems to have outgrown that allergy.  For this picnic I made a delicious mustard dip.  French’s mustard is, and always has been a natural food.  What I love about it is that is adds SO much flavor.  And it is an absolute essential for summer grilling.  It is perfect with hamburgers and hotdogs but also delicious grilled veggie sandwiches.  It also sort of inspired the color palette as well.  You normally don’t think of mustard yellow as a summer color but I think these rich colors are perfect for the time just before sunset.  French’s wants you to get inspired also.  They have a new Pinterest page and it features other great ideas for #naturallyamazing entertaining and recipes for any occasion: graduation celebrations, picnics, summer BBQs, light lunches and more!  You can follow them by clicking the image below!

French's is now on Pinterest!

Cabbage salad for a delicious and easy dinner picnic.  #sponsored #NaturallyAmazing @frenchsfoods  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMy real family has recently started eating more salads.  I’ve always loved salads so this has made me so happy.  However, only my robot children would eat this cabbage salad.  While the cabbage is really mild in flavor, the herbs would totally throw my kids off.  I loved the bright flavors of the mint, basil and cilantro.  And the lime sesame dressing had a touch of sweetness that paired with it really nicely.  Robot children are the best, aren’t they?

A vintage blanket works perfectly for a summer picnic.  #naturallyamazing @frenchsfoods #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd only my robot children would be able to eat on this vintage blanket with a mustard dip…

Wooden cutlery for a summer dinner outdoors. #sponsored #naturallyamazing @frenchfoods // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI decided to keep the elements of this picnic really natural.  I mixed wooden utensils with wooden plates and platters and recyclable paper containers for easy clean up.  But since this was for pretend children who don’t break things, I used my fave blue glasses for a pop of color.  In a real scenario I would probably use some clear plastic cups, nothing colored as I wouldn’t want to compete with this gorgeous blanket.

Succulents transport well and are really great for decorating picnics.  Also, wine.  You should always serve wine.  #sponsored #naturallyamazing @frenchsfoods  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSucculents are a great thing to bring as decorations when entertaining out of the house.  They are a really hearty plant and look great.  I also like to use bright-colored fruits because they double as part of the meal and decoration.  My robot and real children love cherries.

Mustard is all natural and a great way to add flavor to summer picnic dishes!  #sponsored #naturallyamazing @frenchsfoods  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comEating healthier, more clean, doesn’t have to be boring.  I look for ways to add in flavor to keep me the meals from tasting the same.  I use a lot of fresh ground black pepper, fresh citrus juices and French’s mustard to add a wonderful savory tang.

vintage-blanket-and-grass-picnicThis has been a tale of my robot children and this fantastical picnic we all enjoyed together.  All the tips still hold true, just maybe not as a family picnic.  Maybe your picnic won’t be as fancy as this one but French’s and I encourage you to bring some fresh tastes to your table this summer!  Don’t forget to follow French’s for time-saving hacks and useful cooking tips as well as memorable meal ideas!

French's Mustard is #NaturallyAmazing #sponsored

 

Thank you for supporting the companies, like French’s, that sponsor my posts and allow me to create.  My robot children appreciate it also.

DIY Painted Cutting Boards

fruit face on neon cutting board  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comOh hey there.  I’m going to come right out and say that I don’t love things that aren’t entirely useful.  And this one is not 100 % useful in my opinion.  But like Kristen on RHONY, it sure is pretty (if you don’t get that reference, you don’t watch enough television).  So anywho, these are DIY painted cutting boards.  But the paint is not food safe.  So you would have to sort of hand wash this.  So I would really only serve things on it that aren’t super greasy etc.  So see, it’s kind of dumb.  But I just couldn’t take the plain wood.  Something had to be done.

Take plain cutting boards and make them cooler with a little paint. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI picked up a two pack of these cutting boards from HomeGoods and LOVED that they were two different sizes.  But they were so gosh darn plain.  It’s like the little black dress that needs some accessories.  As is, these serving platters would have bored my guests to death.  And I would feel really bad about that.  

Tape of geometric sections and paint to create a custom serving piece with a standard cutting board. //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSo I taped off a bunch of random geometric patterns and painted a bunch of different colors.  I love color. 

DIY neon painted cutting boards for entertaining.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSo much better, right?!  I’m thinking that I could use some sort of sealer over the painted area to make it more hand-wash friendly.  Not sure if Mod Podge or anyone else for that matter makes something that is food safe but as long as I aim to place food on the center section I am certain I will not poison any guests.  DISCLAIMER:  If you make this you assume all risk for your guests, family and anyone else you feed off this hand-painted board.  Poisoning people is not cool so use caution when painting anything that will be used in conjunction with food.  

Painted geometric cutting boards // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comDang, look how cool that fruit looks now that it is served on these hand painted cutting boards.  I mean, I totally want to hang out with that fruit don’t you?  Need to see how these fit in to an entertaining set up?  See them here.

 

16 Delicious Recipes for Outdoor Entertaining

*This post is sponsored by Foodie and Mode.  All opinions are mine.  And in my opinion, these recipes look freaking awesome and I can’t wait to make them.

Check out Outdoor Entertaining

by Sharon Garofalow (Cupcakes and Cutlery) at Foodie.com


Ahhhh, Memorial Day.  Does that signal the start of summer for you too?  I mean, we still have about a month left of school (I know, it is SO late!) but that doesn’t stop us for hosting barbecues and kicking off the summer grilling season.  But eating outside sometimes means we either make a signature dish over and over (because we nail it every time) or that we are scared to try something out of the ordinary because eating outside provides a host of challenges (breakable plates, temperature control, grody bugs).  These 16 recipes for outdoor entertaining are just what you need for all your upcoming parties.  I’ve included some drinks, entrees and side dishes for creating a delicious meal for your guests or even just your family.  I’ve included some familiar dishes, like a bbq burger that looks crazy good (and has a little whiskey in it…) but I’ve also included some not so traditional grilled items like Grilled Chipotle Lime Sweet Potato Fries.  How good do those sound?!  Make what you are comfortable with but don’t be afraid to make mistakes.  I speak from experience when I say that even if you make a mistake in front of people that you don’t know very well, it is not the end of the world.  It happens.  More than I care to admit.  I remember this one time in particular when I realized I had used tablespoons instead of teaspoons a little too late.  Oops!  But it wasn’t the end of the world.  And they’ve even come back since.  I am excited to get creative this summer with my recipe repertoire.  And I’m going to start with these Basil Beerades.

 

Perfect Recipes for Mother’s Day Brunch

*This post is sponsored by Foodie, one of my fave places to search for recipes!

Are you aware that Mother’s Day is fast approaching? I don’t know how it works in your family but the men generally try to take the reigns on our family get together, with gentle prodding from the females, of course. There is no telling how this year’s holiday will turn out. So I can always fantasize about the perfect Mother’s Day spread. In my opinion, it needs to be pretty and delicious. Girly but not too frilly, spring-inspired without being too flowery, and yummy without being over the top indulgent. And I’m just realizing it is posts like this that probably have my husband paralyzed trying to figure out what each of those things means. :) Brunch on a gorgeous sunny day sounds amazing right?  But if brunch doesn’t work out, I know it will still be a really special day. I’ve collected 16 perfect recipes for your Mother’s Day brunch, including some beverages. A good beverage is sometimes key to the overall success of a meal, says this iced tea connoisseur.

Here is a sample brunch menu for you in case you are salivating over all the photos too much to plan out the perfect meal: Apricot Glazed Ham served with Strawberry, Quinoa and Spinach Salad, and Blueberry Earl Grey Tea Cake.  How about some Watermelon Lemonade and a rose cocktail to go with it?

Or I’d start off with an appetizer of Honey Toffee Marscapone on toasts.  Then I’d move on to a Mushroom, Bacon, Swiss Strata, some Strawberry Pico de Gallo with tortilla chips, and end it with a Berry, Lime and Cardamom Spring Cake for dessert.  A Lemon Tea Cocktail or a Blood Orange Gin Float would round out that meal quite nicely.

And Goat Cheese Bacon Balls?!  YES!  Head on over to the collection to check out all the brunch recipes.

What does your Mother’s Day usually look like?  What does your fantasy Mother’s Day look like?

Bright Surprise Party Inspiration

*This post is sponsored by Tiny Prints. All opinions are mine!

Bright decor for an adult party.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comYou guys must know, by now, that I love bright colors.  And I like to use them all at the same time.  Especially for spring parties.  And I think they pair really well with indigo.  There is something about a deep blue and a bright yellow together that makes me super happy.  And do you love that tablecloth as much as I do?  You should.  Because I made it.  You can see the full tutorial over on the Tiny Prints blog

Sneaky Fun Stormy Blue Surprise Party Invite by @tinyprints //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWhen I saw this invitation it totally reminded me of stonewash denim.  While that might turn some people off, I quite like it.  It is also very reminiscent of the shibori dying technique which I love.  And I knew instantly that I wanted to make a tablecloth inspired by this invitation.  The backside of this invite is all watercolor-esque indigo with hints of whispy white.  Perfection.  I contemplated for a half second about hand painting a watercolor tablecloth.  But I am NOT an artist and I just felt like it would not turn out the way my head wanted it to.  But I do messy pretty well so I decided on using bleach to take the color out of denim to create a similar look.  I love how it turned out!  And I love everything about that invite from the font and color options (they do this in blacks or reds also!) to how the card is laid out.     [Read more...]