Ina Garten Potluck

If you know me, you know Ina Garten is worshipped. She is my queen, if you will! So putting together an Ina Garten potluck was an easy task. I got a group of my closest friends together, in which each picked either a cocktail, app, side dish or dessert. We all had such fun going through each of Ina's 12 cookbooks. The menu below was what we ended up with:

The roasted shrimp really stole the show! What a fantastic and easy dish to make. The shrimp was so flavorful and perfectly cook. Check out Ina's recipe here.

Another fun idea was to incorporate an "Ina" dress code! On the invitation, it stated to wear a denim, blue or black button up, and I, of course, decided to buy a wig for the occasion as well! I am not the only crazy one because our friend, Cheryl, showed up with a very similar wig!

Lastly, LIV Creativity always puts the finishing touch on all my parties with her fabulous cookies. Is there anything Lauren can't do? I asked her to make some Ina Garten portriats along with her well known quote, "How easy is that?" and the signature cosmopolitans that Ina discovered during quarantine. What a delicious drink, but be careful because they do go down VERY easily!! ;) 

Here are a few more pictures from the night!


Autumn dinner party

In early August, some friends requested that I host a dinner party. It is one of my favorite requests to receive! I picked a weekend in September, which happened to be days before the Autumn Equinox. Right away, my heart was set on pastel pumpkins and buffalo plaid! Weather has been perfect here in NY, so there were no worries with mother nature.

One of the guests love pork, so the menu was planned around that; pork two ways. My husband made his awesome pork ribs, and I did Natasha's stuffed pork loin.  After apps, we started with a caesar salad using freshly shaved parmesan and classic croutons, had the pork next with a veggie mix and a baked corn casserole. Dessert was Salted caramel brownie parfaits and Moon's award winning apple pie with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.(see below on how I made the dessert jars)

Throughout the night, I often checked my list in the kitchen. Making sure certain things went into the oven at certain times, preparing the sternos  and chafing dishes. We also confirmed that the fire pit and patio heater were filled with full propane tanks before guests arrived. Organization is key to a successful dinner party!

Charcuterie boards are always a big hit. This one I ordered locally from Cheese & Spice Market. It included beemster gouda, manchego, merlot, red leicestershire cheddar from England, and more!

These adorable dessert jars were so easy to assemble and so loved by all! I baked a batch of brownies, then layered the jars as follows (bottom to top): jello pudding pack, chunks of brownies, caramel drizzle, pinch of coarse seal salt, cool whip - repeat. Lastly I topped with chopped kitkats and a final drizzle of caramel before serving. They can be made ahead and refrigerated, which is a wonderful time saver! I linked the jars below from amazon - $24 for TWENTY of them! They come with the string, tags and lids.. highly recommend!
 << link to amazon

My best friend, Michelle, is a crafting genius. We handmade the place cards using fake flowers, moss and apples from Michaels. We hung simple handwritten name tags that were bright and easy to read.

The wooden "grateful," "thankful," "gather," and "blessed" signs were from this Etsy shop.

Kevin and I were floored when our friends gifted us this bottle below as a hosting gift. Absolute class! I am so thankful for the friends that I have and nights like this one. I cannot wait to do it again.

Amazon links below of some table scape items used:

Mystical Garden Dinner

I hosted a mystical garden theme dinner a few weeks ago. It was my first ever sit down dinner, serving a four course meal to my close friends. We are all essential workers, and haven't missed a beat thru the pandemic, so this was to celebrate all of our hard work. In NY, we were allowed gatherings up to 25 people but to be extra cautious, I hosted the dinner outside, and used my extensions in the table to give us as much room as possible. 

Every detail of the party was planned in advance. From the table scape, to the physical menus, to the food. I had taken off from work for the first time in a long time, just to prep and cook all day! It felt like heaven, as this is my true passion. I chose menu items that were able to be made in advance, and heated up before serving. With the use of lists to check off as I go, the dinner went flawlessly. So flawless that as soon as we went inside the house, after my girlfriends helped bring in the table decor, it started POURING rain! Timing was definitely in our favor!

Enjoy the pics below: