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Category: Party Style Party Style

5 Awesome Christmas Cookie Recipes

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Wow!  It’s been a big few weeks for us.  If you didn’t see our big announcement yesterday, check it out.  For today, though, We’re sharing five(!!) different types of cookies for your holiday and all of the work was totally worth it.  I’ve been snacking on these lovelies for the past couple of days – testing each recipe and ensuring that they’re good enough to share.  I made a variety of flavors – chocolate, spice, nutty, creamy – and a variety of types – sandwich, drop, sliced.

There is a little something for everyone and I’m so excited to share all of these cookies with you!  Continue Reading…

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Wrap Gifts Better

christmas wrapping

We are in the thick of the holidays and I am enjoying every moment.  We could use a little snow, but other than that, everything is right on schedule. I spent the weekend making Christmas cookies, which I’m sharing tomorrow, and wrapping presents!

Present wrapping is literally my favorite part of the whole season.  I absolutely love spending time with each gift and making it as pretty as I humanly can.  This year, I am trying to do my best to stay true to my colonial theme and I choose a really cute navy blue antler paper and a plaid with red, green, gold, and navy. I loved both of the papers, but at close to $9 per roll, I was going to make sure they could stretch as far as possible.

Early on in my wrapping, I would spend almost as much money on the paper, bows, and tags as I would on the gifts.  Over the years, however, I’ve developed a system which saves a ton of money and makes the gifts just as beautiful.

cheaper ways to wrap gifts

easier gift wrap ideas

Aside from the cost of tags and ribbon, nice paper also seems to cost a boatload.  My beautiful $9 paper had just 3 yards on the roll, which is crazy!  You can only get 3 gifts out of that!  Although I obviously still buy the beautiful paper, I’ll share my secret for making it last.

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Our Traditional Thanksgiving Table

thanksgiving table setting

As you know from yesterday’s Kahlúa bar post, we enjoyed a pretty amazing Friendsgiving this year.  I wanted to share with you my table so that you could take inspiration for your Thanksgiving (or any holiday dinner) this season.  It was a simple palette that I talked about in my inspiration post.  I wanted to go very classic and traditional with mostly http://www.crateandbarrel.com/essential-dinnerware/f10931 and serve ware and a rust colored plaid for the table runner.  I actually used the same exact plaid that I used on the backs of my invitations so that there was a really wonderful tie-in. Plus, since it was just custom wrapping paper, I was able to cut it to size and make it long enough for my super long table.

thanksgiving place setting inspiration

Aside from the plaid details, I used birch twigs and wood slices from the craft store to give an even more classic outdoorsy look to the table.  More sources, details, and photos below!  Continue Reading…

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Friendsgiving Dessert Drink Bar

thanksgiving kahlua dessert bar

I’m still recovering a bit from our big Friendsgiving that was this past weekend!  I always put together an after dinner drink bar for our friends and this year was no different.  We usually get into something game-related after dinner (sometimes it’s ‘Just Dance’ on the Wii and sometimes a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity or Pit), and everyone always welcomes something sweet and warm after a big meal.

I transferred the goodies into fun bottles to give the bar very stylized vibe.  I feel like people love exploring a fun set up and are bound to try new things.  This year, I’ve put out three types of Kahlúa – Original, Pumpkin Spice, and Peppermint Mocha.  They’re the center focus of the whole drink bar, but there is so much variation in all of the mixers we have, there is no way any two people would ever make the same drink.

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kahlua drink bar

Friendsgiving bar ideas

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Party Beverage Bucket DIY

diy champagne bucket

My favorite part of entertaining has always been finding my own way to do things that is cool and low cost.  This particular project is one that I’ve done a few times before for other parties and just love how customizable it is.  Beverage tubs and champagne buckets tend to be one of those things that are weirdly expensive.  I saw an iron one last year that I like and it was over $100! Really, it’s just a tub!

So, I have started using small (bathroom sized) trashcans as a stand-in to keep bottles cold during our parties.  They’re inexpensive enough to not be a big blow to your party budget and with a couple of drawer pulls or knobs from the hardware store and a quick customization they also turn out way more cute than the run of the mill version.

 

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It’s an easy three step process and rolls in at under $20.  Want to make your own?   Continue Reading…

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Thanksgiving: Fake it? Or make it?

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I was shocked to learn this week that some families don’t do a potluck Thanksgiving.  This means that the hostess is cooking most of the dishes served.  If you’re one of those families that makes the meal together (sisters, aunts, grandmothers unite!) then that’s amazing, but this family that I was speaking to however, just all shows up at someone’s house who has cooked the entire dinner! The hostess in question happened to be a friend who was so nervous about the quest.

I’m kind of a purist when it comes to the Thanksgiving meals, but if I had to do it all myself, I could quickly relinquish some of the dishes to store-bought (or at least help from a box).   This got me thinking about which dishes I would still make and which I would fake. Of course the ‘faking it’ doesn’t have to mean straight up bought from a store in it’s complete form, it could mean anything from buying bread cubes for the stuffing instead of drying and cubing yourself.  Or it could mean using a frozen pastry crust instead of going from scratch.  What I’ve learned is that everyone takes help in some way or another – it all just depends on where their food allegiances lie!

fake it or make it

When it comes down to it, I would take this shortcut on cooking the turkey, make the stuffing using my favorite recipe, use the help of little potatoes and my crockpot for the mashed potatoes, make the pumpkin pie the day prior (using a pre-made crust, because homemade crusts are not worth the effort in my opinion).  The classic green bean casserole is an easy couple of cans to open, so all in all it wouldn’t be too bad.

So, this is pretty hypothetical because we’re having a potluck, which is what I grew up knowing. Still, however, I am making both the turkey and the stuffing for our friends giving, so I’ll still follow the exact recipes above.  I’d really like to know about your family traditions, short-cuts, or long-cuts, though!

Tell me…. What do you HAVE to have homemade and what do you cut corners on? I hope we can all get some great ideas with plenty of time to implement them!!

 

 

Images: Harvest Table Setting | Turkey | Stuffing | Potatoes | Green Bean Casserole | Pumpkin Pie

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Pumpkin Kahlúa Layered Dessert

kahlua trifle

Buckle your seat belts, guys… this dessert is off the charts. You already know I have an affinity for individualized attention when it comes to my parties, so making a sweet, after dinner treat that was single sized was my main focus when starting out here, but quickly took a backseat to the flavor explosion that happened.  Layers of pound cake, Kahlúa Pumpkin Spice Liqueur, pumpkin pie filling, whipped cream, and chocolate not only make this dessert a delight for the stomach, but also a feast for the eyes!  Look at those layers!

Something this seemingly intricate, however, is pretty darn easy thanks to the combination of store-bought ingredients. When I serve the dessert during our Friendsgiving, I’m going to set up a full Kahlúa ‘Bar’ with coffee, hot chocolate, cream, and a bunch of other mixers for guests to create the after-dinner-drink of their dreams.  In my opinion, however, for this dessert, you can’t go wrong with a classic Kahlúa and Coffee.

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It’s also a great recipe to make well in advance!  You can make it up to the night before your event and just stick it in the fridge! Easy instructions after the jump!  Continue Reading…

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White & Rust Traditional Thanksgiving

traditional decor with zazzle

Although I don’t host our family Thanksgiving, I do host a very special occasion in the week prior.  We gather to eat and celebrate with all of those who we choose to be our nearest and dearest – our friends. Friendsgiving has been something this group has been doing for almost 13 years.  Although one of our other friends used to host, as we’ve aged and our group has changed, I’ve begun hosting.  This will be my third year with the honor.

In the past, these gatherings have always been pretty informal – sweats, football, and a bonfire all encouraged, but I have fancied it up a bit… why?  Well, we get together all of the time for impromptu bonfires, patio drinking, and football watching, so I felt like this day should be a little more formal to show how much we cherish and celebrate some of our favorite people in our lives. I always dress up the table nicely like a sit down dinner party, but the food is potluck which allows everyone to contribute, something that I feel is so integral to the Thanksgiving spirit.  I make a turkey the traditional way, but the men all gather earlier in the day our in our yard to fry a turkey as well.  Meanwhile, I sit inside and pray that they don’t burn down our house (and the 100 acres of adjacent nature preserve).

This year, I was very inspired by the in-store display at my local Crate and Barrel store.  Everything was white and worn wood with just a touch of iron or rust.  It was so soothing and still very classic.  I decided to do my own take on this very traditional look.

The formal invites are from Zazzle and although I designed them from Scratch (which is one of the main reasons I use Zazzle), you can also buy my design (and customize) if you’d prefer not to design your own! Mine are simple with a red fox (which we have here on our property) and a plaid back.  I used the same plaid in a custom wrapping paper which I’ll use as a table runner. Lots of white serve ware and dinnerware will bring the light look to the table.  I love the very traditional turkey bowl and the black rimmed stock pot and some simple wheat as table decor (can’t have too much table decor with a potluck!)

Last year I did these fun little ‘thankful’ booklets for name cards, but this year, I’ll use another natural.  I’ve taken my inspiration from this walnut card holder.  For a personal touch, I am going to ask all of our friends to submit their favorite quotes and have them printed on these wooden coasters!  It will be a fun addition and something they can take home!

So far, I’m very happy with the initial plans.  Of course, I’ll be sharing a few of the DIYs along the way, so stay tuned for more Friendsgiving goodness!

 

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5 Tips to Setting a Festive Tablescape

creating a fall tablescape

Creating festive table decor for our parties is actually my favorite part of the entire party!  It’s something that I love spending time playing with and experimenting with different set ups, but something that most people tell me they have trouble with.  I decided to put together my top five tips for creating a compelling table arrangement for your next gathering.

Let’s get started!  Continue Reading…

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The Sleepy Hollow Cocktail

halloween white russian

I have such a treat for you today! White Russians are a bit of a staple in our house and if you like them, you’ll love this little martini.  It’s basically a White Russian, but just a little deconstructed.  I love a sweet treat after dinner, and my favorite part about this take on the classic is that with each drink you get a little taste of the whipped cream followed by some cream laced Kahlúa – why cream laced?  That’s my secret! This recipe is a tad lighter than the regular recipe, but has all of the wonderful flavor.

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I named it the ‘Sleepy Hollow’ because as the whipped cream melts, it gives a spooky foggy look through the darker body of the drink.  The recipe is for one drink, but with so few ingredients, it’s so easy to make in a larger batch, adding the cream topping on each drink for a beautiful and delicious cocktail!

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The whipped cream vodka adds such a wonderful depth of flavor, and with just the topping of cream, it isn’t too heavy to drink after dinner.

Treat yourself this halloween to a spooky swirling drink and for more holiday drink ideas, visit Kahluaholiday.com (ps. take a look at the polaroid photo on the home page – haha!)

 

 

Disclosure: This post was done in partnership with Kahlúa and compensation was provided.  All recipes, photos, ideas, and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that allow us to bring you fresh content 5 days a week!

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