Spruce Up Your Champagne for NYE

Hi Everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web manager and friend. We are staying in for New Year’s Eve this year, but that doesn’t mean the holiday should be any less special…it just might mean an earlier bedtime. I wanted to share a few tips for sprucing up your bubbly. In my opinion, nothing beats a glass of bubbles, but you can always add a little something to up the ante.

Tip one: use frozen cranberries

One of my favorite holiday tricks is using frozen cranberries to keep beverages cold. 3-4 frozen cranberries in a glass of champagne are not only beautiful but useful! I usually buy a bag and freeze the entire thing. Such a simple spruce.

Tip two: switch up your glassware

Champagne glasses are tall and elegant, but I never miss an opportunity to use a coupe. My favorite coupe glasses are the ones I find while antique shopping, but these from Estelle are a close runner-up.

Tip three: sprinkle some sparkle

My sister gave me edible champagne glitter for Christmas, and it is honestly so fun. It makes your drink absolutely sparkle! Then, my sister-in-law gave me cotton candy that you put in your champagne. How fun is that?! Clearly, my family knows me well.

Tip four: splash some St. Germain

I love a splash of St. Germain liqueur in my champagne. The elderflower has floral notes which pairs well with crisp champagne. Be careful to only use a dash!

I hope you all have a wonderful start to 2022!

xo Nicole

All celebration Cocktail of the Week Cocktails dinner party Entertaining Holiday Holiday Decor Holiday Entertaining holiday guide Parties party tips : Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Add a little DIY to your holiday parties

Hi Everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web-manager and friend. Over the weekend, I went to an intimate holiday brunch at my friend Paige Minear’s house. Paige served a lovely, simple spread, and we all sipped a prosecco punch while having conversations about our favorite Christmas memories. Then, Paige surprised us with a DIY activity: gingerbread house building!

She purchased these kits which allowed us to get a head start on one of the hardest parts: building the house itself. Our kits came with a few cute candies for decorating, but Paige also provided some other treats to make our houses unique. We laughed and helped each other when sides caved in or our windows turned out looking more like doors. It was a blast, and it got me thinking that having an activity at a party is almost as important as having great food.

Annette has always said that any extra touch at a party is what guests are going to remember. In her archives, she has directions for DIY snow globe place cards (I copied it again below!). You could do this yourself, or you could set out all of the materials ahead of time for guests to make their own take-home gift. Five years from now, I won’t remember the yummy avocado toast that Paige served, but I will remember belly-laughing over gingerbread houses.

Find Annette’s directions for DIY snowglobes below.

Happy holidays!

xo Nicole

You will need:

– Hot Glue Gun
– 2. 5″ ball jar
– Small toy deer, rabbit, or christmas tree
– Faux snow
– 1/2 inch silk ribbon
– Stickers (these are from Michaels)
– Sharpie
– Twine

How To:

1. Cut a 3 inch piece of ribbon, attach the sticker, and write the name of your guest

2. Attach the ribbon banner to the tree or toy animal with a dot of hot glue

3. Remove the lid of the jar, pull the lid apart, and add a little glue to the inside of the outer rim. Glue the round part of the lid to the rim.

4. Place a dime size round of hot glue on the inside of the lid, and attach tree or toy.

5. Place about 1″ depth of the faux snow into the jar.

6. Once the glue has solidified, twist the top onto the jar.

7. Flip the jar and place the jar lid side down on the table. You can shake the snow into place.

All celebration DIY DIY decor DIY Holdiay crafts Entertaining Holiday Holiday Decor Holiday Entertaining Holidays Parties party tips the art of a party : Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Winter White Negroni

Ciao! I wanted to leave this recipe here. We love a Negroni, am I right? This Winter White Negroni is the perfect winter version of my favorite cocktail. When anybody asks me what my favorite cocktail is, the Classic Negroni is hands down my go-to. Here’s a great twist on the classic; it’s a great holiday party addition to your cocktail recipes.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce Lillet blanc
  • 1/2 ounce Suze gentian liqueur
  • Garnish: lemon twist

Steps

  1. Add the gin, Lillet blanc and Suze into a mixing glass with ice and stir for 15 to 20 seconds until well-chilled.
  2. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice.
  3. Garnish with a lemon twist. We added a few cranberries a festive holiday touch.
All celebration Cocktail Italiano Cocktail of the Week Cocktails Entertaining Food styling Holiday Holiday Entertaining holiday recipes Holidays mixology Parties party tips Recipes Uncategorized : Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Pumpkin Bundt Cake

Hi everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web manager and friend. Coming off of pumpkin week last week only made me crave the fall flavor even more. I’ll be the first to say that pumpkin pie is my least favorite fall dessert but pumpkin bundt cake? Sign me up.

This bundt cake recipe is from the archives. A bundt cake always gives me a dose of vintage nostalgia. Bundt cakes were a staple in my house growing up, and I really think we should bring them back. Plus the word “bundt” is just funny. Do you always think of that scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding like I do?! I love that part.

Without further adieu, meet the pumpkin bundt cake. Be sure to add it to your fall menus! I know I will!

Layered Pumpkin Bundt Cake
Serves 12

For the cake, you will need: 

– 3 cups all-purpose flour
– 2 teaspoons baking powder
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
– 2 teaspoons ground ginger
– 1 3/4 teaspoons ground allspice
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 1 1/2 cups sugar
– 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
– 1 cup canola oil
– 4 large eggs
– 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
– 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
– 1 tablespoon grated orange peel

Note: 2 fluted bundt pans.

To prepare the cake:

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch-diameter bundt pans; Butter and dust pans with flour. Sift 3 cups flour and next 7 ingredients into medium bowl. In the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat both sugars and oil until combined (mixture will look grainy). Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Add pumpkin, vanilla, and orange peel; beat until well blended. Add flour mixture; beat just until incorporatedDivide batter between prepared pans. Smooth tops.

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool cakes completely in pans on rack. Run knife around cakes to loosen. Invert cakes onto racks, then turn cakes over on to a platter.

For the frosting, you will need:

– 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
– 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
– 1 tablespoon dark rum
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
– 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar

To prepare the frosting: 

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in dark rum and vanilla. Add powdered sugar in 3 additions, beating just until frosting is smooth after each addition (do not overbeat or frosting may become too soft to spread).

For the chocolate icing, you will need:

– 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
– ½ cup cream

To prepare the chocolate icing:

In a small sauce pan heat chips and cream whisk until smooth.

To assemble the cake: 

Place 1 pumpkin cake layer, rounded side down, on platter. Spread the of cream cheese frosting over top of cake to edges. Top with second pumpkin half. Drizzle with Chocolate icing using a fork in a zig zag splatter pattern.

Note – Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.

Photo credit: The Raftermen

All baking cooking dinner party Entertaining Events Fall Food fall menus Food styling Halloween treats for kids Halloween Parties party tips photostyling Recipes Thanksgiving Thanksgiving recipes : Tags: , , , , , ,

Easy Fall Appetizer:: CHORIZO SKEWERS

Hey Everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web manager and friend, and I’m here sharing another inspiring recipe from Annette’s archives. This time of year seems to be filled with fall fetes. It is football season in the South after all! I’m always on the hunt for quick, easy, and most of all, delicious recipes to take to parties or to have on hand when guests come over. Of course, I turned to Annette for inspiration and found this recipe for chorizo skewers.

I love the idea of making elevated tailgate food like this, especially since my days of outside tailgating are over. I prefer to watch games from the comfort of my couch with a fine wine versus a cheap beer, thank you very much!

What’s more simple (and transportable!) than a tasty skewer? Annette recommends using top-notch ingredients for this one. Let us know if you try it for your next party!

Chorizo skewers with Manchego Cheese and Tomatoes
Serves 10

You will need:
– 
4 links of Chorizo sausage
– 1/2 pound wedge of 12 month Manchego Cheese
– 20 baby tomatoes
– 1 loaf of crusty bread, cut into slices
– 10 wooden skewers

Preparation:

Grill sausages on medium heat then pull off of the grill and set aside to cool. While the sausages are on the grill, cut the cheese into 1 inch cubes and set aside. Cut the sausage into 1 inch slices. Using the wooden skewers, pierce the sausage and then the tomato, and cheese, then sausage, tomato, and cheese and then sausage. Repeat with all the skewers, and serve with slices of bread. I like to place some olives on the side as well.

All celebration Cocktail Italiano cooking dinner party Entertaining Fall Food fall menus Food styling Parties Party Accessories party tips Recipes : Tags: , , , , , , ,