Posts Tagged ‘The Daily Meal’

Labor Day Entertaining


The Daily Meal asked us what our favorite products are for entertaining this Labor Day weekend! So many simple ways to liven up your celebrations so you have some time top enjoy the weekend too!

Labor Day Entertaining

A store-bought artisan product– Don’t spend  TOO much time laboring over the food, take some help from the store with quality products. Start cocktails with a tin of Bazzini’s nuts. Artisan pickles ( add variety to your burger and dog toppings. Or pick up a pie from a local bakery or artisan ice cream at your local creamery.

Beverage Tub– Target always carries inexpensive beverage tubs in bright colors.  We love this turquoise.  Perfect for chilling water, beer and rosé as you relax in the sun.

Striped Straws– Because they’re fun, they’re striped and we want to SCREAM summer on this last weekend of summer 2011.  We think they do.

Deck Towel– Pool parties, beach trips and picnic blanket needs are solved with one linen towel/blanket. It even makes a pretty tablecloth!

Drink Dispenser– If you want to serve sangria, fresh lemonade, ice tea or Arnold Palmers, fill one of these beverage dispensers.  Then guests can help themselves and you’re free to have fun.

Outdoor Umbrella– Shade and stripes.  There’s no classier way to protect your skin.Striped Straws

Bambu Plates and Cutlery– Disposable, recyclable, compostable and still chic! These are the hippest option for plates and cutlery when you can’t transport the real thing.

Disposable Cotton Napkins and Placemats – These colorful rolls combine the elegance of cloth napkins and placemats with the convenience of paper, so they’re perfect for summer garden parties and picnics. They’re made of fine-woven 100% cotton with easy-tear perforated edges and special bonding so they won’t fray. Gingham prints and pretty red and navy blue colors add a fun touch.


A & O

Elegant Outdoor Breakfast Table


Dining al fresco

Lydia and I had loads of fun styling this table for The Daily Meal. We wanted to recreate the feeling of an elegant outdoor restaurant at home, so we played with my nicest indoor pieces.  Using 1 set of pottery, 1 set of chargers, 1 set of flatware and 1 table we created 2 beautiful looks: breakfast in the garden with friends and an elegant candlelit dinner for two.

Here’s a close up of the breakfast table:

Outdoor breakfast table
For breakfast we fell in love with hydrangeas in cloud colors.  We set them in my favorite juice pitcher and built the rest of the look around that.  The sugar and creamer as well as the napkins pick up on the beautiful sky blue petals.  And what says morning more clearly than a rooster?  This one is part of an antique rooster and hen pair that my aunt gave me as a wedding gift.  It’s a happy table that invites you to linger over flaky croissants and chunky mugs of hot coffee.

Tell us, how would you make your outdoor table special?

Tomorrow- the dinner table!


Plate, Bowls, Mugs and Pitcher, Barre by Simon Pearce. Glasses by Juliska. Napkins and Chargers by Pottery Barn. Antique Rooster. Creamer and Sugar by Nigella Lawson. Flatware by Match Pewter.

How To: Candy Buffet


Blue and White Candy Buffet

Trendy sure, but a candy buffet is a delightful addition to any party. Guests can’t help but exclaim with glee at the sight of multi-colored chocolates and chews to be scooped to their heart’s content. Surprise your friends by offering it instead of dessert at a cocktail or dinner party. Or use it as a favor for any shower, birthday party, wedding or other celebration to send guests home with a sweet taste in their mouth.


Blue and White Whirly Pops

I recently created the above buffet for a Baby Shower our client was hosting. It was a huge hit at the shower but was surprisingly more work than I had originally imaged. See all my tips, ideas and resources to create your own fun candy buffets in detail at The Daily Meal.


Coconut, Blueberry and Very Berry Jelly Bellys




Healthy Summer Drinks


These drinks (along with our new fav Fruit Water) embody the California lifestyle–they’re healthy and bright, flavorful and refreshing.  Oh, and easy to make. Serve them to your girlfriends on a Saturday afternoon or as a non-alcoholic signature drink at your next BBQ. Kids will love these sweet, yet sophisticated summer sippers.


Kale Lemonade

Kale Lemonade
Makes 2 generous servings

3 cups cleaned and chopped kale
5 cups cold lemonade

Puree equal parts kale and lemonade until emulsified. Strain for a smooth beverage or drink as is if you like the green pulpy goodness like we do.


Watermelon Fizz

Watermelon Fizz
Makes 1 large pitcher

5 cups fresh watermelon, roughly chopped
3 cups fresh limeade, plus more to taste
1 cup sparkling water

Puree the watermelon in a blender.  Strain juice through a sieve to remove any pulp.  This will keep your drink from separating in the glass or pitcher.  Mix in limeade, adding more to taste if necessary.   Pour into your favorite pitcher and chill.  Add sparkling water just before serving.  Watermelon and limeade mixture will keep in fridge 2-3 days before adding sparkling water.



Serves 2

1 cups limeade, divided
2 12-ounce bottle ginger brew (sometimes called ginger beer), chilled
1 fresh lime
2 pieces thinly sliced ginger

Divide the limeade among two tall glasses.  Add 1 bottle ginger brew to each glass and a squirt of fresh lime.  Garnish with more fresh lime and a thin slice of ginger.


The last two would be fantastic with a shot of tequila or rum, just saying…




Memorial Day Backyard Picnic Menu


Make this Memorial Day memorable with an elegant back yard picnic and lots of family time. Spend time together cooking the meal and decorating your yard. Invite other families over for a picnic followed by board and lawn games in the afternoon light.

Sherry Lemonade in the grass


Rosemary symbolizes remembrance so use lots of it in your decor and share stories of the service men and women in your family lineage as you celebrate the day.


Rosemary in jam jars

Wind down the night with Americana classics, root beer floats and sparklers.


Root Beer Float

Memorial Day Picnic Menu
Sherry Lemonade
Peach Iced Tea

Grilled Pork Tenderloin Baguette Sandwich with Strawberry Chutney and Frisée
Potato Salad Gribiche
Raw Kale Salad with Strawberries, Almonds and Basil

Root Beer Floats


Memorial Day picnic meal


PS- Check back tomorrow for the FABULOUS Sherry Lemonade recipe, from Margaret Lagrotteria’s entertaining arsenal. A grown up slushy you will not forget. All the recipes for this picnic featured on The Daily Meal!




10 No-Bake Desserts


Our favorite desserts are no bake, no fuss and a major joy.  We put 10 of them together for The Daily Meal today.  And, yes, this is what our job looks like.  (Some days at least).

If you’re worried about not putting in the extra effort to make dessert, remember our cardinal rules of entertaining: one course should be entirely store-bought.

Next time you’re hosting buy a few good-quality ingredients and assemble dessert. No one will notice, or if you have friends who care then reconsider the friendship.

Enjoy!  We did.



1. Strawberries mixed with lemon whipped cream (add zest to cream before whipping)

2. Strawberries dipped in lemon curd- yogurt sauce (make just the lemon-yogurt sauce from this recipe)

3. Italian-style affogato–espresso and whipped cream over gelato



4. Root beer floats in tall chilled glasses with striped straws

5. Fresh fruit and decadent chocolate bars



6. Store-bought angel food cake, toasted with a smear of Nutella and and a sprinkle of toasted almonds, hazelnuts or sea salt



7. Ice cream sandwiches made with good bakery cookies, Haagen-Daz ice cream and sprinkle of sea salt



8. Fresh berries tossed with good balsamic vinegar, chopped basil and a dollop of sweetened mascarpone

9. Biscotti al Vin Santo:  Store-bought biscotti with Vin Santo and seasonal fruit

10. Baklava and mint tea

Any favorites we forgot?


Easter Brunch Decor


Happy Friday, loves.

Our latest contribution to The Daily Meal went live yesterday and features our ideal Easter brunch which includes tangerine mimosas, strawberry morning muffins with SQIRL jam and a deconstructed salade Niçoise with poached salmon. We’ll have more details on the menu and recipes for you next week, but here’s how we thought out the space.

The picture above is of the buffet table on which we set out all of the elements of the salad separately so our friends could build their own plates.


We kept the look clean, light and interesting by mixing serving dishes in our favorite materials- glass, wood and white or gently-hued ceramics- in different shapes, sizes and heights.  Building up on a buffet table makes the spread more abundant by allowing you to squeeze in more food and the layering effect adds enough visual interest to banish the buffet blahs.  You can’t help but want to investigate the unexpected mix of materials and heights.

Don’t you love the truffled deviled eggs lined up in two straight rows? Lydia modeled them after Madeline and her friends!


I still love finding Easter eggs, so we made it easy on our pals by using eggs as place cards.  We found these speckled shells in varying shades of brown and yellow at a local craft store, but you can also hardboil some pretty eggs from the market and mark them accordingly.  Linen napkins and ramekins in robin’s egg blue complete the look.


For the center of the table, we re-potted store-bought wheat grass into narrow glass containers to reveal the layers of soil and sprouts.  We then “planted” ranunculus in Easter shades for a fresh Pop art look.

Jordan almonds in blue, white, pink and yellow added color to the natural linen table runner.

Vintage French flatware and glass coupes for fresh tangerine and prosecco mimosas finish our Easter table.

Are you hosting an Easter event?  How will you decorate?

Have a wonderful weekend!



How to set up a Prosecco Bar

sorbet in prosecco

photo by Beth Liebetrau


Every experienced hostess knows one of the best ways to make your guests feel comfortable when they arrive in your home is to have a self-serve drink station set out. This can be a simple as a bottle of open wine and a bottle of sparkling water or as involved as a full spread of liquors and mixers. For a large family gathering, a shower or a festive dinner party we love to set up a Prosecco Bar.



photo by Beth Liebetrau


Prosecco is an Italian light sparkling white wine like French Champagne but at a quarter of the price. A nice bottle of Prosecco will cost you about $7-$10 (we love Zonin Prosecco available at Trader Joe’s.)  Arrange a few bottles of Prosecco in an ice bin with an array of sorbets and juices and invite your guests to mix to their hearts’ desire. Set out champagne flutes and lots of tall spoons or stirrers, cocktail napkins and mini ice cream scoopers for the sorbet. Don’t forget sparkling water for guests to mix with juices and sorbets for an non alcoholic version!


sorbet above prosecco

photo by Beth Liebetrau

Mixers– Choose a few different sorbets, juices and maybe a flavored syrup for your guests to play around creating their perfect fizzy cocktail.

Sorbets– A mini scoop of sorbet in a chilled glass of prosecco dissolves to flavor the drink and keep it chilled. Just make sure to add the prosecco first and the sorbet second—sounds counterintuitive, we know — or you’ll have a mess on your hands.
Lemon sorbet
Strawberry sorbet
Raspberry sorbet
Peach sorbet

Fresh squeezed orange or tangerine juice
Fresh Squeezed Lemonade lemonade
Sparkling Italian sodas (blood orange or lemonade works well)
Fresh or frozen peach puree (You can order white peach puree for a classic bellini or try Ina’s recipe or use Looza brand peach nectar )

Fruit Garnishes– Fresh raspberries and whole strawberries

Meyer Lemon Simple Syrup– see our recipe below

Meyer Lemon Simple Syrup
Makes 2-1/3 cups

2-1/2 cups granulated sugar
Full 1 cup water
1 cup of fresh Meyer lemon juice (you can substitute 2/3 a cup fresh lemon juice and 1/3 a cup of orange juice to replicate the flavor of the Meyer lemon)

Combine the sugar and water in a nonreactive 2-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. All the sugar crystals should completely dissolve. Remove from the heat and pour into a clean medium-size bowl. Let cool completely before using. Simple syrup can be stored in the refrigerator, indefinitely, if kept in an airtight container. Makes 2-1/3 cups.

Combine 2/3 a cup of simple syrup with 1 cup fresh juice and pour into large squirt bottle or pitcher.  Chill until ready to use.

Check out this same post at The Daily Meal and leave a comment or give us a star rating! Thanks




10 No-Bake Appetizers

Crudite with olive tapenade
Crudite with olive tapenade




You asked for it dear readers and we listened! 10 more easy appetizers that can be assembled from items from the store with out ever turning on your oven.

cheddar and apples
cheddar and apples







Check out all 10 ideas over at The Daily Meal!

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