Entertaining

Harvest Moon

October 7, 2009

One perfect October evening…we celebrated the completion of the Buttercup barn project and the Harvest moon.
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In the loft of the barn we…
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Served a feast of..
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  • Oyster Puffs
  • Beef Tenderloin
  • Autumn Corn and Bean Salsa
  • Ciabatta Sandwiches
  • Sushi
  • Roasted Asparagus with Proscuitto
  • Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail
  • Egg Spinach Feta Bites
  • Cheese, Crackers, Olives, Grapes

We enjoyed a moonlit evening filled with music….
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friendship….
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and family.
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A dedication to our daughters who are growing up so fast….
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And lots and lots of smiles and laughter and romance….

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I couldn’t be more blessed to have such wonderful friends and family to make my life’s journey so rich.

Also, don’t forget…it is “A Beautiful Life” Friday over at The Inspired Room .

A special thank you to my good friend Scott who took ALL of these pictures.

Simple Weekday Dinner Party

June 18, 2009

Hosting small impromptu dinner parties in the middle of the week is one of my favorite hobbies. I love catching up with friends as much as I enjoy the process of putting something together. We are as busy as most, so in order to pull it off, I follow a few tips to keep my dinners SIMPLE and SPECIAL.

The SIMPLE PART:

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1) Think of your dinner party as “a couple extras” coming for a meal. If you keep weekday dinner parties small by inviting one couple or one family at a time, it is much easier to “throw” something together. I like to choose one meal a week on my menu plan and add a little extra (or double) the ingredients on my weekly grocery list. Ultimately, this saves time and money and makes the whole idea of impromtu weekday entertaining…not so “big”. If you end up NOT entertaining, use the extra food for left-over lunches or a second meal.

2) Keep the main meal to three simple dishes that take under and hour to prepare. I usually stick with a formula for weekday entertaining…a protein, a carb, a green and a store-bought desert. Last night, I served, Drunken Chicken, Warm Orzo Salad, and a Green Salad (from the garden). Try to have 90% of the meal EN ROUTE by the time your guests arrive. When my guests arrived last night, chicken was in the oven, salad was made, cookies were plated…that gave me the time to “be with my friends” instead of “in the kitchen”.

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3) For a quick table setting, keep an “off-the-shelf” table setting ready to go. My stocked option is all things “white and clear”. Clean white napkins, white candles, white plates, glass votives, and a few white accented items. I change the look of my table by switching out flowers and table cloths. White looks GREAT with almost EVERYTHING! I have purchased a lot of my “white collection” from stores like Home Goods or Tuesday Morning for next to nothing.

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4) Buy store bought desserts (Trader Joes offers the most AMAZING deserts) or ask your guests to bring one (I don’t enjoy baking so this is a quick way for me to save time). Last night I baked snicker doodles (frozen dough) and served them with fresh fruit salad (brought by friends)…EASY PEASY. This is the perfect item to ask a guest to bring because STORE bought options are so good.

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THE SPECIAL PART:

5) If you have time, try to make each place setting special by giving “their” place a name with a little gift. My children LOVE to make place cards so I keep plain white cards (I buy them by the box at Michaels) and cut them down to little squares. Yesterday I asked the girls to make flowers on each card. I gift my guests with SIMPLE, INEXPENSIVE or FREE…sprigs of oregano from the garden, small chocolates, a votive candle tied with ribbon..these are all easy items to keep “on hand” and surely will make your guest smile.

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6) Last but not least…stay in the moment during dinner. Weekday meals tend to last a shorter amount of time than a weekend event, so enjoy every moment. LAUGH, SHARE STORIES, TALK POLITICS, BOOKS, DREAMS…this is what makes time with friends so special.

One rule I follow ALWAYS…NEVER do dishes when friends or family are in the house for a small weekday dinner party…You might miss the best part of the night…BEING WITH FRIENDS.

Also, don’t forget…it is “A Beautiful Life” Friday over at The Inspired Room . It is a great weekend treat!

It’s Friday-Howabouta “SHAWN-TINI”?

February 6, 2009

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I do enjoy a good COCKTAIL on a Friday Night. I created this drink a couple of summers ago and it has become a favorite request of guests who visit Buttercup Farm. It’s not to fruity, no to alcohol(y). Be careful though…one of these will make you warm, two will make you silly, and three…well…Good Night!

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This recipe is designed for a Party Pitcher and will yield at least 8-10 drinks. (For 2 servings replace “cups” with “shots”.)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Cups Patron Tequila Silver (must be Patron)
  • 1 Cup Cointreau (or Grand Mariner)
  • 1 Cup Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 Cup Pineapple Juice
  • 2 Cups Minute Maid Fruit Punch (Frozen Concentrate-made into juice according to directions)

Mix Well, chill/shake over ice or in refrigerator, serve in a martini glass with a twist of lime.
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The Spaghetti Dinner

January 23, 2009

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Whenever I entertain in an impromtu “hey you want to come over for dinner tomorrow night” way, I always consider the old stand by, The Spaghetti Dinner. You can keep all of the ingredients on hand and it only requires about 30 minutes to assemble. Also, is there anyone…grown or small….who doesn’t like spaghetti? Last weekend I hosted one of these fun last minute dinners.

Buttercup Spaghetti Sauce is SO easy to make and SO delicious!

For a big crowd….

Buttercup Spaghetti Sauce

1 Box of Tomato Starter
2 Jars of Tomato Basil Marinara
2 Jars of Vodka Sauce
1/4 of a Jar of Water
2 Pkgs of Sweet Italian Sausage

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1. Brown the Sausage
2. Open Jars & Boxes and Dump in Dutch Oven with Meat
3. Simmer for 4+ hours

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Make a simple Green Salad
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Invite a few friends over and And SERVE…

This is what I like to see…Kids actually EATING a good dinner.
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Adults love it too!
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This evening reminded me of the Wednesday night Spaghetti Dinners hosted by our church. As a family we didn’t eat out at restaurants, so the church dinner was eating out. We always had a great time with our friends and being out on a school night was extra special.

Do Spaghetti Dinners conjure up anything from your childhood?

Soup and Some….

January 5, 2009

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Is there anything better than enjoying a warm bowl of homemade soup on a cold winter day? Our family has turned this winter pleasure into a WINTER TRADITION. Each year we host a few “Soup and Some….” gatherings. Our gatherings work like this, each family invited, brings either a “SOUP” or an accompaniment for the soup.

“SOME”is what we provide. SOME “Cheer”, SOME “Football Watching”, SOME “Ziplining”, “SOME Talent Show”, “SOME Bonfire”, SOME Game Playing—whatever comes to mind that day.

Sometimes “Soup and Some…” gatherings are large (over 100 people) and sometimes, like yesterday, they are small (a few neighbors) and impromtu.

Yesterday, my neighbor Tony, made this delicious Tuscan White Bean Soup with Proscuitto
tuscan white bean soup.

We also watched a great football game and the children performed an amazing “dance” show. Do you have a favorite soup recipe you love on a cold winter day?

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