Set the Table

It’s time for a little table setting 101.Here is an adorable illustration that will help with the basics. Image

Of course, most of my entertaining is pretty casual so this is helpful, but don’t be afraid to get creative and have fun with the table. Your guests will feel taken care of even before eating a bite of food when they sit down to a beautifully designed table.

Here are some lovely tables and details. ImageImageImageImageImage

{Credits: Illustration via Sugarandcharmblog.com; additional images via Pinterest}

Make a Plan!

When I set out to throw a party I have to start with a plan. The plan really depends on what kind of event it is and how much is involved. A kid’s party can require a lot of thinking and prep work while a dinner party with friends is generally a lot less complicated. Regardless of the party, I still think it helps to put your ideas and punch list down on paper.

I’m hosting a little birthday party for a friend this weekend. Lucky for me it’s going to be a potluck, so I won’t be spending all day cooking for 10.

Here is what I’ve got for Sunday…

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{Credits: Inspiration image via pinterest, color palette by thesweetestoccasion.com, cake slice photo via maxieb.com}

Book Club Inspired by Bernadette

“Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” is a perfect book to bring on your spring break trip to Hawaii. It’s funny, it’s current, and it’s impossible to put down.

I host a sporadic book club with the intention of gathering my reading friends to pick their brains about what to add to my Kindle queue. Of course the wine and non-book talk is fun too.

I was inspired by Bernadette to throw a themed book club- something I’ve never done. There were so many great details in the book that I couldn’t resist bringing them to life.

Some of my favorite were: pots of mud with signs and funny quotes from the book, custom gnat labeled wine, take-out containers for the food, and of course no Seattle setting would be complete without rain.

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And last, but definitely not least… I hired a friend of mine to make an Antarctic dessert scape with edible ice flows (meringues) and penguins (chocolate truffles.) Not only was it about the cutest thing I have ever seen- the meringues were possibly the most delicious I have ever had and the penguins were divine.

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The Best Party Appetizer

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I grew up in the south where artichoke and mayonnaise dip was all the rage. When I would make it for friends in California they’d go nuts, but I was always hesitant to divulge the ingredients.

A few years ago a friend of mine begged me to bring it to her family Thanksgiving dinner. As luck would have it, Bon Appetit had just published this modernized version of the classic. It was a huge hit! 

I’ve been serving it and bringing it as my signature dish to potlucks ever since. It’s super easy and delicious. I even manage to love it after almost chopping my finger off making it a few months ago. * Note to self: do not use an immersion blender for the artichokes, even if you are in a hurry to get your daughter from ballet class- you will end up in the Urgent Care and dip-less at the potluck!

Ingredients

  • 1 8-ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
  • 3/4 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves plus additional (for garnish)
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup green-olive tapenade
  • 1 5.2-ounce garlic-and-herb cheese (such as Boursin)
  • Assorted sliced crusty breads

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Coarsely chop artichokes and 3/4 cup basil in processor. Transfer mixture to 4-cup baking dish; mix in Parmesan, tapenade, and herb cheese. Bake until hot, about 30 minutes. Garnish with basil. Serve with breads.