Showing posts with label entertaining. Show all posts
Showing posts with label entertaining. Show all posts
Simple & Elegant Thanksgiving Tablescape

Simple & Elegant Thanksgiving Tablescape


Thanksgiving is one of my favorite meals of the year! I love the food (especially the stuffing!), and the chance to be with family. Growing up, holiday meals were always enjoyed over a beautifully set table, and I always looked forward to it! It doesn't have to be anything elaborate, but taking the time to make the table a little more special made the whole dinner more memorable.

In This Post:





For this table, this year, I opted for a simple, yet elegant table with striking elements such as the gorgeous pewter chargers, complimented by beautiful white plates from Juliska and large eucalyptus arrangement.

Whenever I set a table, I pick one or two pieces to design the whole table around. For this table, it was these gorgeous pewter chargers!  I chose a simple grey table runner, striped grey and white napkins, and rustic wood candle holders so that the chargers would really shine. Then I added some pops of red with roses in bud vases and candlesticks, and some fresh green eucalyptus in this beautiful textured ceramic vase!
 


I always think it's fun to surprise guests with one or two really special treats. Sometimes it's a delicious cocktail, calligraphy, or favors. For this table I set up mini charcuterie boards at each place setting, for each guest to enjoy as we gathered. So cute and so easy, and a really fun conversation starter!
 

I can't get over these beautiful Berry & Thread dinner plates from Juliska. They are so well made - you can see in the photos how solid they are! The details are beyond gorgeous - I love the subtle texture they add with the raised thread and berries design around the edge.

Investing in a set of quality white plates is so helpful for entertaining all year round - you can use them for any color scheme, holiday, or your everyday family dinner. And the simple design means these plates can be used for any table you have in mind, from rustic to glam!





The Berry & Thread collection has so many gorgeous pieces from serving dishes to glassware, and I was so excited to use the Berry & Thread cake stand to serve pumpkin and red velvet cupcakes! (The pumpkin cupcakes were adapted from my Pumpkin Caramel Layer Cake recipe.)

 


Thank you to Juliska for gifting their items used in this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

Looking For Some Fall Recipes To Serve?


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Kirsten Bell
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The 3 Secrets To Make Beautiful And Delicious Charcuterie Boards

The 3 Secrets To Make Beautiful And Delicious Charcuterie Boards


For this week's post, I joined forces with charcuterie extraordinaire and Pullman, WA local Audrey, from A La Board NW. She specializes in charcuterie and cheese boards for catering local events. I was so excited to sit down with her, learn her top tips for creating charcuterie boards at home, and nibble on some of these delicious goodies.

Charcuterie boards offer many options, satisfy a number of cravings, and also cater to dietary restrictions. Since every guest gets to choose what they eat, charcuterie boards are great for anyone with gluten-free, vegetarian, and low carb diets! They're perfect for casual girls nights or elegant Thanksgiving dinners, and the smallest of celebrations to the greatest of gatherings. While they're packed with complex flavors and look beautiful, they are very simple to assemble - especially when you know these 3 secrets!




As much content as this guide has, it really is as simple as pulling cheeses, meats, crackers, and produce out of your fridge and cupboards, throwing it on a cutting board, and arranging it to please the mind's eye. The best boards are made from curiosity and creativity - plus a little wine to help you get there!


Secret #1: What To Buy


The good news is, cheese and cured meats go with almost everything! But below are some general guidelines for cheese, meats, sides and starches. 

Cheese: When it comes to cheese, some things to consider are what type of animals' milk is used, where the cheese is made, the smell, the texture, and even the color. Some people love goat cheese, while others prefer sharper/drier cows milk cheeses. An overall good rule of thumb is to grab a few wedges of everything - that way everyone has something they like! For example, my favorite cheeses to grab for charcuterie boards are: cheddar, brie and goats cheese. Even though I don't personally love goat cheese, a lot of people do, and I'm happy with the cheddar and brie. 

Meat: Most cured meats are made from pork: salame, prosciuto, coppa, soprassata, Serrano ham, etc. They are all packed with flavor and texture, and are enjoyed by many meat eaters. Things to consider when purchasing are spice level, cost, and how easy they are to prepare. Coppa and prosciutto can be a little more expensive, but are a delicious treat. If you prefer salame and soprassatta, grab a few different types for variety. 

Fruits and Vegetables: When choosing sides such as fruits and vegetables, consider what might pair well with your cheeses, meats and drinks you're serving. Most charcuterie boards will have fruits like grapes, berries, cherrise, apples, pears, figs, peaches, cantaloupe, apricots, plums, etc. These fruits provide a lot of color and flavor, and can be prepared in bite-sized pieces. The best vegetables to accompany charcuterie boards are usually picked - they taste amazing paired with meats and cheese! Picked asparagus, green beans, olives, artichokes and cornichons (baby pickles), are all great options. 

Bread and Crackers: Neutral crackers and slices of baguette are perfect to accompany all the flavor in your meats and cheeses. Triscuits or Carrs Water Crackers are great options, and my personal favorite is toasted baguette! Neutral crackers pair with pretty much everything, and you can add flavor with the spreads below! If you really like flavored crackers, aim for rosemary or garlic! For toasted baguettte (my favorite), slice the baguette in 1/3 inch sections, lightly dust with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes, and voila!

Spreads: One of my favorite ways to add extra interest and excitement in charcuterie boards is to serve it with spreads! Spreads that I often use are mustards, jams, and honey. Mustards add spice, zest, mild sweetness, and a light bitterness that kicks your bite up a notch. Jams pair really well with softer cheeses and fatty meats.


Secret #2: How Much To Buy


This can be a tricky one, when you're standing in the grocery store staring at the cheese selection. Do I need 3 or 4 wedges? Is that too little? What if I have a ton leftover?

Well, here's a little trick-of-the-trade formula so you never have to second guess again! First, figure out how many people you're serving. Typically serving sizes for meats, cheeses and starches are around 1 ounce, and the normal serving size for fruits and vegetables is 2-3 ounces.

What does this mean? Let's say you're expecting 10 guests. You will need total:

  • 10 ounces of each cheese
  • 10 ounces of each meat
  • 20-30 ounces of fruit
  • 20-30 ounces of vegetables 
  • 10 ounces of crackers or bread 
Some people will enjoy more, and some will enjoy less, and this formula accounts for that. Pretty easy, right? 





Secret #3: How To Assemble Charcuterie Boards 


You've chosen all your items, you have the perfect amount of each, and now it's time to assemble your board!

You'll notice that the prettiest charcuterie boards focus on variation in textures and colors. For example, bright red cherries alongside a wedge of creamy brie make both foods stand out and instantly look more appetizing.

Start by laying out your starches, taking up about 1/3 of the board. Add your cheeses in separate spots of the board, and place your meats in between. Then fill in any empty spots with fruit, nuts, extra crackers - whatever looks good to you! Nestle small containers of mustards and jams in between. (For these boards, we used shot glasses for the condiments. They're the perfect size, and inexpensive!)




Remember to have fun with your charcuterie boards! Mix up your flavors each time and experiment with what you like best! 

If you're local and are interested in more information on charcuterie board catering options, you can email Audrey here, and be sure to follow her on Instagram to stay up to date on where she's serving next!


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Kirsten Bell
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5 Tips For Hosting An Easy and Beautiful Summer Picnic

5 Tips For Hosting An Easy and Beautiful Summer Picnic


Happy official first day of summer! What better way to welcome the new season than with a summer picnic? I love spending as much time outdoors during the summer months as possible, to take advantage of the beautiful weather and scenery! So today I'm sharing with you my five tips for hosting a summer picnic!

Below you'll find links to my favorite Juliska outdoor dinnerware, my fun and easy picnic menu, and tips for a perfect picnic. Enjoy, and happy summer!

In This Post: 



Want To Remember These Tips For Your Next Picnic? Click Below!

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/797840890217870937/

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/75787206215593469/


1. Plan an easy and delicious menu!


I love picnics where all the items can be assembled before we leave the house, and are ready to go when we get to the park!

Last year when we visited Bordeaux, we had wonderful picnics with delicious and simple sandwiches. I made these with sliced baguette, salted butter, swiss cheese, turkey and fresh sliced tomato. So easy! I wrapped each sandwich in parchment paper, tied the paper with some twine, and tucked a stem of fresh lavender under the tied twine. Then I served them on this beautiful handled tray.

For our cocktail, I chose to serve my Fresh Strawberry Bellinis. It was so easy to mix ahead of time in the acrylic pitcher, and then everyone could serve themselves in their acrylic champagne flutes!

As you might imagine, dessert is one of my favorite parts of the meal! Since it was a beautiful summer day, I decided to serve Homemade Strawberry Shortcakes! This Sectioned Server was so perfect for it! I put divided the strawberries and shortcakes into the outside compartments, and served the whipped cream in the middle.

The Picnic Menu: 

Fresh Strawberry Bellinis
Homemade Strawberry Shortcakes
French inspired sandwiches: Baguette, salted butter, meat and cheese
Summer Salads



 

2. Invest In The Dishware!


In our house have been focusing on reducing waste and choosing eco-friendly options. That's why I was so excited to see that Julisak has an entire line of beautiful melamine plates and serveware, and acrylic drinkware! Using real dishes elevates the picnic, making it feel so much more special for everyone attending. As they say, nobody lingers over a paper plate! And it's not only nicer for your guests, it's also nicer for the environment and your wallet since you only have to buy it once!

I instantly fell in love with the Al Fresco Collection from Juliska. All the items are perfectly suited for outdoor entertaining, and they're all so beautiful! For this picnic, I used these gorgeous dinner plates, these salad plates, these tumblers, these champagne flutes, this melamine handled tray for the sandwiches, this Sectioned Server for the Homemade Strawberry Shortcakes, and this acrylic pitcher for the Strawberry Bellinis!


3. Have A Clean Up Plan


Since we're using real dishes, we've got to get them home somehow! I like to use a few big cardboard boxes. (We usually have lots from our trips to Costco.) I designate one box as the "dirty" box, and all the dishes go in there so they can be easily brought right to the sink when we get home. Then the linens and clean dishes can go in another box and not get dirty! Super simple, right?



4. Pick A Good Spot


When I was looking for a spot for our picnic, I wanted to find a picnic table so that I didn't have to worry about bringing my own table in. If you're not worried about a table, just bring a nice big blanket and set up a casual spot on the grass! Just remember some cutting boards or other flat surfaces for people to set drinks on. My other requirement was a spot in the shade so that everyone was comfortable. The sun gets hot pretty fast, and with my Northern European skin I'm a bit of a wimp haha! I loved looking out at the pond from the table, it was so pretty and our table was even visited by a little family of ducks!


5. Don't Forget To Plan For The Weather


You might have caught my wind fiasco on Instagram stories this past week! I didn't realize that it was such a windy day when I set out for this picnic, and forget to grab tablecloth weights. Oops! It all worked out just fine, but I wished I had taken a quick look at the forecast. So learn from my mistake! It's also great to know if you need a lightweight jacket or to pack the sunscreen!







Want To Remember These Tips For Your Next Picnic? Click The Image Below To Pin It!


https://www.pinterest.com/pin/75787206215593469/

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Kirsten Bell
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A Blue & White Easter Brunch Tablescape

A Blue & White Easter Brunch Tablescape


Blue and white is one of my all-time favorite color combinations. It's so fresh and classic, and works for any event! This year as I was putting together my Easter brunch table, I knew it had to be blue and white with pops of beautiful, bright colors!



On the table: 





I love layering plates! It creates such depth to the table, and an opportunity to create a much more interesting table. I chose plates all in white and blue, and love how it turned out! I love how each plate has a different pattern and texture - it's so visually appealing.

The beautiful scalloped tea plates are perfect for small bites and appetizers to start the meal, the salad plates for salad (shocker), and the dinner plates for the main event! I secretly get a little excited when I see lots of plates because it means the host has something really special planned!


Since this is for a brunch, of course I included these beautiful coffee cups! I love the details - it's the perfect cup to linger over, slowly sipping and enjoying a brunch with friends! If you're planning an Easter dinner instead of brunch, still keep the coffee cups! Many people enjoy some coffee or tea with dessert.


The serving pedestal and tray may be my favorite pieces on the table! I love their beautiful, bright colors and floral design. There is such attention to detail - I absolutely adore the little flower on the base of the pedestal! The dahlia napkin rings are so pretty, and everyone who sees them is instantly delighted. They're so well made, and are a beautiful detail for each guest to enjoy.


I hope you have a beautiful and happy Easter, surrounded by good company, delicious food, and an egg hunt or two!


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Kirsten Bell
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