Sequins Are Always A Good Idea…and So Are Hors D’oeuvres and Rum Punch 

A cocktail party in which the hors d’oeuvres become the meal is a great way to offer a nibble of everything on the menu, and it is a very easy way to entertain. You don’t need a huge dining room table, matching set of dishes or room to seat all of your guests to pull off this festive cocktail dinner party. Foods that easliy go from hand to mouth without worry about spilling on a silk dress or pale rug are best. Also, appetizers that don’t require silverware and can be hand-held in a napkin make it easier to juggle drinks. Design your appetizers as you would a dinner party-in courses. Serve a first course of cold appetizers, ready when guests arrive. Garlic shrimp, the blue cheese dip and chorizo on bread all taste best cold or at room temperature. The second course is the hot appetizers. Complete the meal with light, sweet nibbles for dessert. Count on about twelve to sixteen appetizer servings per person for a substantial appetizer dinner. Make your invitations specific. Tell your guests you plan to serve a meal of appetizers. This way guests will arrive on time and won’t make dinner plans for later. 

Thinking about what to wear ? Nowadays, anything goes when entertaining at home, but I think sequins and lots of sparkle are always a good idea. 



I found both of these Express brand dresses at http://www.thredup.com. The tassel bracelets are part of a stack available at http://www.candycourtboutique.com. I also found this Express Design Studio vest at thredUP. It’s easy to build a wardrobe with lots of variety when shopping at thredUP because the prices are 70% off retail all the time. 



This dress is called “The Julia” and I was fortunate to receive it from Kayrana Nuzzolese. She runs her own LuLaRoe Clothing business and there is a giveaway going on now for her Facebook group. Join at http://www.facebook.com/groups/lularoekayrana and visit her boutique at http://www.lularoe.com. 

Now that we got some fashion inspiration out of the way, here are some great easy recipes to pull off your own cocktail dinner buffet. 

Garlic Shrimp

You will need:

1 1/2 pounds medium fresh shrimp, or 3/4 lbs. cleaned frozen 

1/4 cup olive oil 

2 T butter 

4 garlic cloves, sliced 

2 T minced onion 

1/4 tsp. Hot red pepper flakes 

3 T fresh lemon juice 

1/4 tsp. salt

2 T fresh parsley

Peel shrimp, leaving tails on, and devein. In larger skillet over low heat, heat oil and butter. Add garlic and onion and cook 3 minutes without browning garlic. Add shrimp and pepper flakes. Increase heat to medium and cook, tossing constantly 3 minutes or until shrimp turn pink and begin to curl. Transfer shrimp and sauce to bowl. Add lemon juice, salt, and parsley; toss well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate shrimp for at least 2 hours before serving to blend flavors. Makes 45-50. 

Blue Cheese Dip 


You will need:

2 T olive oil

2 tsp. red wine vinegar 

1 large garlic clove 

2 tsp. grated onion 

1/4 lb. crumbled blue cheese 

1 cup sour cream 

Fresh fennel and Belgian endive for dipping 

In a small bowl combine oil, vinegar, garlic, and onion; mix well. Add cheese and beat until almost smooth. Stir in sour cream. Serve with fennel and endive for dipping. Makes 1 1/2 cups. 

Beef Kabobs


You will need:

2 to 2 1/2 lbs. London broil

1/2 c. Olive oil 

3 T. Vinegar

3 T honey

2 1/2 tsp. Ground cumin

1 tsp. Paprika 

1/4 cup minced scallions 

1/2 tsp. Salt 

Slice meat into 1/4 inch thick strips, place in large bowl. Combine oil and remaining ingredients. Pour over meat. Cover and marinate in refrigerator at least 3 hours, tossing occasionally. Skewer meat by placing on onto long bamboo skewers that have been soaked in water for 20 minutes. Heat broiler. Place skewers on broiler pan. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, basting with marinade. Serve hot. Makes about 40. To reheat: Place on baking sheet, cover loosely with aluminum foil and heat in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, or microwave for 1 minute. 

Spicy Chicken Wings 


You will need:

20 chicken wings

Vegetable oil for frying 

3 T fresh lime juice

3 T dry sherry 

1 T fresh chopped parsley 

1 tsp. grated onion 

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper 

1/8 tsp. salt

Cut chicken wings at joints. Cut off and discard wing tips. Pour 1/2 inch oil into a large skillet; heat over medium high heat until almost smoking, about 375 degrees on deep fat thermometer. Add as many chicken wings as will fit in the skillet without crowding. Fry until golden, about 6 to 8 minutes, turning once. Heat oven to 250 degrees. Keep chicken warm in oven while frying remaining wings. When all wings are cooked, transfer to serving platter. Combine remaining ingredients; mix well. Drizzle over warm wings. Makes 40 pieces. To reheat:microwave on HIGH for 1 minute or heat in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. 

Tuna Empanadas 


You will need:

2 T olive oil

1 small onion, chopped 

1/2 sweet green pepper, chopped 

1 -6 1/2 oz. can oil-packed tuna

1- 8 oz. can tomato sauce 

1 T chopped fresh parsley 

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 

1 hard cooked egg, chopped 

Dough:

2 c. flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 c. shortening

5-6 T cold water 

In a skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and green pepper. Sauté 5 minutes and add tomato sauce, parsley, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer , uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chopped egg. Set aside. In medium bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle in water and mix with a fork until dough forms a ball. Divide dough in half. On a floured surface roll each half out about 1/8 of an inch thick. Using a 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut 20 circles. Repeat with remaining dough. Spoon one teaspoon of tuna filling onto each dough circle. Using your finger, dab water around the edges of pastry. Fold over and press edges together with a fork. Pour 2 inches of oil into a deep skillet or Dutch oven. Heat to 375 degrees. Fry a few at a time, until golden brown. To reheat : 350 degrees in oven or 1 minute on HIGH in microwave. 

Chorizo On Bread 

Slice , brush with olive oil and assemble. Season as desired. 

Ginger Shortbreads 


You will need:

1 cup flour 

1/2 cup butter 

1/3 cup brown sugar 

1/4 cup candied ginger 

2 tablespoons cornstarch 

Pinch salt 

4 ounces semisweet  chocolate 

1 tablespoon shortening 

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine butter, brown sugar, ginger, cornstarch, and salt in food processor. Whirl about 25 seconds. Press mixture into 8 inch square baking pan. Bake for 26 minutes. Melt chocolate and shortening in small bowl. Dip cookies diagonally into chocolate and lay on wax paper. Refrigerate until firm. 

Mini Fruit Pizzas


Use prepared cookie dough, such as Pillsbury refrigerated sugar cookie dough,to make this extra easy. Roll 3/4 inch balls and bake in mini muffin pans at 350 degrees for 6 minutes. When they are cool, spread with cream cheese or cool whip and your choice of fruit. 

Rum Punch


You will need:

3 c. unsweetened pineapple juice 

2 c. fresh orange juice 

Juice of 4 limes 

1 cup dark rum 

1-1 1/2 c. grenadine 

Combine juices, rum, and grenadine and serve. For a layered effect, mix all ingredients except grenadine and pour into glasses, then add 2 to 3 tablespoons grenadine to each glass. The grenadine will sink to the bottom of the glass; juices will float on top. Makes 8 servings.


Hope you enjoyed this post and that it inspires you to have your own cocktail dinner buffet , or even just add a little sparkle to your style. 

Thank you so much for talking the time to check this out. Your time and attention is always greatly appreciated. 

Yours truly,

Jennifer

Xoxoxo 

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Keeping Cool: Summer Dresses and Candy Shop Milkshakes

Even if you never wear dresses during the rest of the year, come summertime there’s nothing better. The easy coolness of a summer dress is irresistible. Nothing to mix and match. No rules as to how long or short it can be. Look for lightweight fabrics that drape well and breathe. Color? Summer is full of it- take your pick. Pattern? Stripes, dots, flowers- anything goes as long as it’s relaxed, loose, and pretty. 

How about this fun ice-cream printed dress from http://www.bonnechancecollections.com ? My always stylish friend, Rachel, of http://www.myfashionfingerprint.com sent it to me for my birthday and I love wearing it. 



I found the colorful tassle necklace at http://www.walmart.com and the sandals are White Mountain Brand which I found at http://www.marshalls.com. 

This Calvin Klein maxi-dress was both easy to wear and pack when I recently traveled to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I found it at http://www.thredup.com for 70% off the retail price. The sandals are White Mountain Brand from http://www.marshalls.com and the hat is from http://www.burlingtoncoatfactory.com.


This is a tunic I wore back it February with jeans and a fur vest, over leggings, and even tucked into a skirt. I think it works well as a bathing suit cover up. It’s great if you are going to be at a pool or beach but also want to look nice as you are running errands around town. 


The tunic is from http://www.tweetumsfashionboutique.com and the sandals are Guess brand from http://www.macys.com. 

I wore it over this suit from http://www.delias.com. The hat is from http://www.burlingtoncoatfactory.com. 


July 17,2016 is National Ice Cream Day ! 


Why not keep yourself and friends and family cool by hosting an ice-cream social? 

You can provide the ice-cream and blender and have guests bring their favorite toppings. 

Serve milkshakes that will make everyone smile! 


Here are two great Candy Shop Milkshakes ( Banana Split and Coconut Crispy ) that are easy to make and so delicious ! 

Banana Split Milkshake 

You will need :

5 maraschino cherries, divided 

1 cup vanilla ice cream 

1/2 cup milk 

1 banana, frozen and sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices, divided

1/4 cup colored sprinkles,divided 

1/4 cup salted peanuts 

Steps:

1. Remove the stems from 4 cherries. In a blender, combine ice cream, milk, half the banana slices, 2 cherries, and 1/8 cup sprinkles. With the blender on medium low speed, blend mixture until thick and creamy, about 2 minutes. 

2. Pour half the ice-cream mixture into a tall glass; top with 2 more cherries, half the remaining banana slices and sprinkles and 1/8 cup peanuts.

3. Pour remaining ice-cream mixture into a glass. Garnish with remaining banana slices, sprinkle with peanuts; top with remaining cherry. Serve immediately.

Coconut Crispy Milkshake 

You will need:

1 chocolate-coconut candy bar

1 cup vanilla ice-cream

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup crisp cereal 

1/2 cup chocolate syrup 

Steps:

1.Using a sharp knife, finely chop the candy bar. 

2. In a blender, combine half the chopped candy bar, ice cream, milk, 1/4 cup cereal, and 1/4 cup chocolate syrup. With the blender on medium low speed, blend mixture until thick and creamy, about 2 minutes. 

3. Pour half the ice-cream mixture into a tall glass; sprinkle with half the remaining candy and cereal. Pour the remaining mixture into the glass and garnish with remaining candy and cereal. Serve immediately. 

Here are some fun glasses I found at http://www.polyvore.com. 

Add a colorful, fruity garnish to your frosty creations. Thread fresh fruit slices on a skewer and lay it across the top of each ice-cream treat. 

Another idea is to pour the mixture into a prepared pie crust, sprinkle with extra toppings, and then freeze. 

I love to use the mixture to make Popsicles this time of year. You can simply use Dixie cups and Popsicle sticks like this : 


However , there are so many fun Popsicle molds available now. I found these at http://www.target.com.

Hope you enjoyed this post ! Thank you so much for taking the time to check it out. I really appreciate your time and attention. 

Remember – 

And also: 

Happy National Ice Cream Day ! 

May it be both sweet and stylish for you ! 

Yours truly,

Jennifer

Xoxoxo

A Classic Approach To Fun Fashion and Easy Entertaining

If fashion once dictated style (“Here’s the look you’ll wear this season”) , now the opposite is true. Style is our own look, the image we present to the world, and is as personal as a signature.

 When shopping, I look for good quality classic pieces that can serve as a eutral fashion canvas with tons of potential. I also look for unique, colorful shoes and accessories at affordable prices so I will always have a variety of options when putting an outfit together. 

I added fun , leopard pumps and a polka dot bag from http://www.target.com to basic gingham pants and a simple white blouse from http://www.express.com. The necklace is part of the Luluavenue collection from http://www.stylebyalana.com.


This is a classic summer floral dress by Jessica Simpson which I found at http://www.thredup.com , Dingo brand boots, and fun jewelry from http://www.target.com.


I paired a classic Max Studio dress from http://www.nordstromrack.com with gold glitter pumps and a bright red bag from http://www.target.com. I added a leopard ribbon to an ordinary straw hat just for fun.

I wore this dress with tights when it was colder outside. The necklaces are both from http://www.stylebyalana.com. Bracelets are from http://www.alexandani.com.

It’s easy to entertain family or friends when you take the same fun, classic approach to your menu as you do to your wardrobe. 

The following recipes involve classic foods made a bit more interesting and certainly a lot more tasty. 

Marinated Mushroom-Topped Burgers


You will need:

1 lb lean ground beef

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon pepper seasoning 

2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms 

1/4 cup purchased balsamic vinaigrette 

4 Kaiser rolls, split 

4 slices Swiss cheese 

Steps:

1. Heat grill. In medium bowl, combine ground beef and 1 teaspoon of the lemon pepper seasoning; mix well. Shape mixture into 4 patties.

2. In medium bowl, combine mushrooms, remaining 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning and vinaigrette; toss to coat. Set aside.

3. When ready to grill, place patties on gas grill over medium heat or on charcoal grill 4 to 6 inches from medium coals. Cook 11 to 13 minutes or until patties are thoroughly cooked, turning once. 

4. To toast buns, place cut sides down on grill during last 1 to 2 minutes of cooking time. Place 1 slice of cheese on each patty; cook an additional minute or until cheese is melted. 

5. Place patties on bottom halves of buns. Top each with mushroom mixture and top half of bun. 


Rosemary Corn


All you will need is 12 ears of sweet corn, 1 stick butter , melted , and 2 teaspoons of fresh rosemary, chopped. 

On each ear of corn, pull the husk back without completely removing it. Remove silk and rinse corn and husks thoroughly under cool water. Combine butter and rosemary, blending well. Using a basting brush, coat each ear of corn with butter mixture; pull the husks back over the ear of corn. Place corn on grill over medium heat and grill approximately 20 minutes. Turn ears frequently for even grilling.

Spicy Sea Scallops 


You will need:

2 T. lime juice 

1 T canola oil 

1 garlic clove, crushed 

1/2 t. ground cumin

1/8 t. Cayenne pepper

1 lb. sea scallops 

2 cups cherry tomatoes 

Steps:

Prepare marinade by combining lime juice, oil, garlic, cumin and pepper together in medium sized bowl. Whisk thoroughly. Alternately place scallops and tomatoes on metal skewers and brush on marinade. Place skewers on a platter, cover and refrigerate 30 minutes. Grill scallops 5 to 7 minutes, basting with marinade. 

Who can resist the aroma of fresh-baked cookies wafting through the house? Whatever recipe you choose, you are sure to please guests with these chocolate-filled delights. 

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

You will need:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 

1/3 cup cocoa 

1 teaspoon baking soda 

1/2 teaspoon salt 

1 cup butter 

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar 

1 teaspoon vanilla 

2 eggs 

2 cups chocolate chips or use 1 cup chocolate and 1 other flavor that you prefer 

1 cup chopped nuts ( optional )

Steps:

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in large bowl on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs. Gradually add flour mixture. Stir in chips and nuts. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.

3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. 

Best Brownies 


You will need:

1/2 cup melted butter

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla 

2 eggs 

1/2 cup flour 

1/3 cup cocoa 

1/4 teaspoon baking powder 

1/4 teaspoon salt 

1/2 nuts 

Creamy brownie frosting ( recipe follows)

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9 inch square baking pan. Stir butter, sugar, and vanilla in large bowl. Add eggs. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in nuts, if desired. Spread into pan.

2. Bake 20-25 minutes. Cool. Frost with Creamy Brownie Frosting. Add small candies if desired. I like to add different small candies depending on the seasonal or holiday decor. 

Creamy Brownie Frosting 

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons cocoa 

1 tablespoon  honey 

1/2 teaspoon vanilla 

1 cup powdered sugar 

1-2 tablespoons milk

Steps:

1. Beat butter, honey, and vanilla.

2. Add powdered sugar and milk; beat to spreading consistency. 

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Shortcake

You will need:

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter

1 egg

2 teaspoons vanilla 

1 1/2 cups flour 

1/2 teaspoon baking powder 

1 cup chocolate chips 

2 cups sour cream 

2 eggs

2 cups frozen non dairy whipped topping 

Fresh strawberries 

Steps:

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch springform pan.

2. Beat 1/2 cup sugar and butter. Add 1 egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Gradually add flour and baking powder, beating until smooth; stir in 1/2 cup chips. Press mixture into bottom of pan.

3. Stir sour cream, remaining sugar, 2 eggs, and remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla in medium bowl; stir in remaining 1/2 cup small chocolate chips. Pour over mixture in pan. 

4. Bake 50-55 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack; remove side of pan. Spread whipped topping over top. Cover;refrigerate. Just before serving, arrange strawberry halves on top of cake; garnish as desired. 


Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post. 

I appreciate being able to share this fun, classic approach to fashion and simple entertaining. I hope you found it worthwhile. 

Yours truly,

Jennifer 

Xoxoxo 

Picnics…Fashion and  Food Inspiration From A New England Mom 

The “perfect” picnic spot, the people and the food make a picnic both memorable and fun. You can easily gather your friends and family together for a special occasion, or just escape city life and enjoy the outdoors. 

Many of you know I’m not exactly an “outdoorsy” kind of person. However, it’s hard not to be inspired to get out and enjoy the scenery and fresh air when you live so close to such beauty. 

This is a spot we found on our way to pick strawberries at a berry patch in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. It’s called Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge. I’m wearing a Boden dress from http://www.thredUP.com and accessories from http://www.burlingtoncoatfactory.com. 

It was quite a long trail for the kids and I was glad I prepared this snack mix to keep everyone happy. 

I’ve used the original Chex Party Mix recipe for years and try to keep it interesting by substituting different cereals, dried fruits , and candy. 

It’s super easy: 

In a large microwaveable bowl, mix cereals, nuts, pretzels, bagel chips ( whatever you prefer to snack on) . In a small microwaveable bowl, microwave butter uncovered on high about 40 seconds or until melted. Stir in seasonings of your choice. Pour over cereal mixture; stir until evenly coated. 

Microwave uncovered on high 5 to 6 minutes, thoroughly stirring every 2 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool and put in individual cups or small bags to take along next time you plan a little adventure. 

We did find some great strawberries that day at Sweet Berry Farms. 

I used them with some store bought pound cake to make these awesome Strawberry Shortcake sandwiches. 

They are a quick and easy handheld version of a classic Strawberry Shortcake. No spoon necessary! All you have to do is slice 2 cups of strawberries, mix with sugar, and set aside. Beat 2 cups of heavy whipping cream, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, and 1 tablespoon of vanilla. Build the sandwiches by putting a layer of whipped cream on one side of the cake, followed by a layer of strawberries. Top with the remaining cake slice and serve immediately. 

I put together some healthier treats when we explored some scenic spots and great places to shop in Westerly, Rhode Island. 

Pita Pocket bread is a no-brainer when it comes to picnic food. I like to fill them with berries, spinach, balsamic vinegar, and goat cheese.


Chickpeas and tomatoes are also a great savory combination to use to fill up your picnic sandwich pocket.


Here are some of the places we stopped at and some of the things we did in Westerly.  I wore a dress I found just the other day at http://www.francescas.com , shoes from http://www.burlingtoncoatfactory.com, and my hat is from http://www.llbean.com.

 This is Wilcox Park. 


I did a little shopping at Watch Hill. 

This is Ninigret Park and a new friend  I met that day.



Dee’s Creamery was perfect at the end of that long day. When I pack up a picnic lunch , I often plan on enjoying  dessert at an ice cream parlor or stopping at Del’s Lemonade. Or both. 


Now that it is 4th of July Weekend , there are lots of parades, parties, and picnics. I often keep things simple with grilled chicken sandwiches , hamburgers, hotdogs, and watermelon . 

However , I do keep my wardrobe festive. 


The pants were a recent purchase at http://www.express.com. All other clothing and accessories are from http://www.burlingtoncoatfactory.com, except the bracelet. It is from @connectionsbymaya on Instagram and Facebook. 


This top and hat are  from BCF and jeans and wedges are from Target. 


This dress is called the “Love You Always” dress and from http://www.adornapparel.us. 

This dress is from http://www.marshalls.com and shoes are Madden Girl, from http://www.thredup.com. I found my flag scarf at http://www.target.com. 

As I said , I’ve always kept the 4th of July food simple , but I do make fun desserts, such as these “Grill” brownies. 

All you have to do is prepare a brownie recipe or mix in a cupcake pan and decorate with candy.

 I used a caramel cream candy and red, yellow, and green candy fruit slices to make the kebabs.  The pork chop is made from a caramel cream candy, which I stretched out , and used a toothpick to apply black food coloring on. The hot dogs are made with hot tamale candies and black food coloring. 

This drink is simple and festive enough for the 4th or any day you would like to make special. 

Watermelon Blueberry Cooler

Puree 6 ounces watermelon, 1 ounce blueberry vodka, and juice of one lemon wedge in a blender. Add ice and blend until smooth. If sugaring the rim, pour a small amount of blue decorating sugar onto a plate. Run lemon wedge around the rim of the glass. Dip rim in sugar. Pour cocktail into glass. 

It’s easy to decorate at this time of year simply without spending too much money or time by simply arranging flowers that are red, white, and blue.

You can bring them to a picnic in a plastic pitcher. Also, if you  don’t have a huge picnic basket , a wheelbarrow is a fun idea for carrying food , toys , and any special activities you choose to have with you. 

Most of all, be creative, keep it simple, and enjoy the moments. 


Thank you so much for visiting my blog today. I always appreciate your time and attention and hope you found this post worthwhile. 

Yours truly,

Jennifer 

Xoxoxo