My First Summer BBQ & Easy Entertaining Tips

Last night I hosted my first BBQ this summer! It was so much fun to have my friends over and grill on my balcony. The way I entertain is to have food out and ready for my guests. I like it when they walk in the door and food is waiting for them. I also like to serve a variety of options especially since so many people have dietary restrictions. I can’t wait to have my friends over to BBQ again!

Appetizers:

Shrimp cocktail

chips & guac

hummus & pita chips

pigs in a blanket

For appetizers I like to have a variety of finger foods. I’m a big fan of dips and if you want something healthy make sure you have veggies for dipping.

I highly recommend buying at least one appetizer from Trader Joe’s. They always have something that my guests will enjoy. My rule is that at least one item must be homemade- who wants to eat all store bought appetizers!?

Main Course:

Turkey Burgers

Salmon

My main course is typically a protein of some sort. I ALWAYS get my meat from Whole Foods. Typically I choose what is the freshest or what’s on sale. I like to keep my main courses as simple as possible but with some thought involved. Since I made turkey burgers I made sure to have toppings (lettuce, tomato, & onion) along with a hot toasted bun. Since I don’t eat poultry I also made grilled salmon with a miso glaze.

Sides:

Salad (romaine, corn, pistachios, and dried cranberries)

Cornbread Casserole

Cole Slaw

Roasted Potatoes

Pasta Salad

Grilled Veggies

This is the best part of the entire dinner! My friends are incredible chefs and brought the side dishes below. I like to have at least one type of vegetable, a mixed green salad, a variety of starches (pasta salad & potatoes), and other delicious dishes that can please any crowd.

I absolutely LOVE entertaining and having my friends over for dinner. A lot of people tell me how they can’t cook or they don’t know how to entertain. The hardest part is balancing your time in the kitchen and entertaining your guests. Although it can be a lot of work, I have some tips to make entertaining easy and seamless.

Organize: If you need to search for recipes, do that a few days in advanced. Then make a grocery list of everything you need. That way your not running around trying to find everything last minute.

Prep ahead of time: If there are certain dishes you can make ahead, I highly recommend you do so. You can even make some of your dishes a week in advance and freeze them. For example, lasagna is a great dish to make in advance and freeze. If you are serving appetizers, make sure they are out and ready before your guests arrive- one less thing you have to do after they get there.

Use Shortcuts: Buy your veggies already cut up (it’s more expensive but a HUGE time saver). If you’re baking use boxed cake mix and add other ingredients to make it taste homemade. Choose recipes where you only need to assemble the ingredients for example hummus dip, six layer greek dip, or chili cheese dip.

Clean as you go: This is also a big time saver. When you notice the dishes piling in the sink, throw them in the dishwasher to prevent a giant mess.

 The key with entertaining is to have fun and enjoy yourself. Try not to stress yourself out. If it’s your first time entertaining, your friends will understand if things aren’t perfect. If all else fails, order in some pizzas… at least you tried and you guests will appreciate the effort!

 

Pre Valentines Day

I am not much of a Valentines Day person however since I love holiday candy heart shaped chocolates, sweet hearts, and gummies make me happy. My friends and I like to make Valentines day fun every year and get together to eat, drink, create, and exchange gifts!

Heart shaped pizza...yummy!

Heart shaped pizza...yummy!

delicious creamy cheesy pasta

heart shaped oreo brownie cakes

Underwear exchange- love these lace and leopard undies!

 We created our own cake trifles in mason jars using cake, cool whip, frosting, candy, sprinkles, etc. The top left is my trifle- I love sprinkles!

our creations

If you’re hosting a party or want to give a fun and creative gift this is an easy and inexpensive way to impress your guests. Special thanks to Siera for hosting the party last night!

 Have a great evening!

 

Super Duper Bowl

Good morning! I feel like a walking carb face after eating all of that yummy food at the superbowl last night. Everyone made amazing dishes, I can’t wait to post the recipes and share them with you!

hummus dip

baked salami

pasta salad

buffalo chicken dip

mac & cheese bites

chili dip

walking taco!

My friend Colleen took mini bags of fritos, crushed them up, and cut an opening at the side of the bag. Then had us fill them with homemade vegetarian chili, cheese, lettuce, and sour cream.

yummy

This is a great one for tailgates, parties, festivals, etc.

Peanut butter and jelly bars

what a proud little chef!

homemade cookie dough dip... no words just amazingness

mini pecan tarts

homemade 5 minute fudge

I will be posting the recipes for these items throughout the week- which one do you want me to post first?

Special thanks to Dayna and Todd for hosting the Superbowl party at their apartment. Good times!

 

The Big Fat Holiday Party Post

Saturday night my friend Dayna hosted a fancy holiday party. She went all out and it was a absolute BLAST! There was music, tons of wine, and everyone brought a dish of their own that included dips, finger foods, and deserts. I took tons of pictures, fel free to use any of these dishes for your holiday party. Comment below or shoot me an email if you want any of these recipes!

so freakin cute!

Brittany's homemade sushi

obsessed

Cheese dip

red velvet cake balls

Ooey gooey s'more bars

cupcake tree

tomato soup in shot glasses and mini grilled cheese

pigs in a blanket

baked salami

chili cheese dip

arti dip

snowman made out of layers of happiness

crabbies {made by yours truly}

chopped salad

fruit skewers

reindeer made out of nutter butters!

crowding around the table

sock buns!

time to party!!!!!!!

i love my friends

 

Girls Holiday Party

Last night was my annual holiday party with my high school friends. I love that we still get together and have stayed so close throughout the years. My friend Joree was kind enough the host the party, here is the recap.

Lauren’s homemade guac that she made from scratch in 3 minutes

She put the avocado pit in the guac so it wouldn’t turn brown, what an awesome tip!

Joree’s baked ziti

 She used rigatoni noodles with tons of cheese and a mixture of marinara and Alfredo sauce. YUM!

 salad

Now on to the fun stuff…

cupcakes!

for cupcake decorating

 Cookie decorating

 I don’t mean to brag but I’m really proud of this one

 and this one

Secret Santa gift exchange

My gift from my secret santa, an awesome leopard print make-up case!

more gifts!

Special thanks for Joree for hosting the party! It was so much fun, I’m so glad we do this every year!

What do you do with your friends to celebrate the holidays?

Have a great weekend!

 

Danks Giving Dinner

Good morning! I apologize for being a terrible blogger, there have been some technical difficulties with my site. I am so excited to finally post!

My friends and I got together last weekend and made our own thanksgiving dinner aka Danks Giving. Everyone contributed to the feast and made a variety of dishes that were fantastic! Even my friends who claim they can’t cook put in the extra effort to make something special.

Here is our Danks Giving dinner!

 

homemade cranberry sauce

stuffing

sweet potato casserole

spinach casserole

green bean casserole

tomato and onion tart

mashed potatoes

pumpkin muffins

the spread

peanut butter and butterscotch crisps

GOOEY BUTTER CAKE!

amazingness!

After this feast I couldn’t even breathe. Monday I was back at it drinking my GGS every morning. I have my cousins wedding this weekend in Connecticut and I’m wearing a skin tight dress. I am doing barre burn three days in a row this week!

If you want the recipes for any of these dishes, feel free to comment below or send me an email and I will make sure to post them.

Have a great day!

Girl’s BBQ

Good morning, Happy Friday! Today is going to be a good day, mainly because I found this as I was walking to work this morning…
What a great way to start the day!
Last night I had some friends over to BBQ. I love how domestic my friends are, every single one of them brought something and it was awesome to put it all together and make an awesome dinner.
Siera’s pasta salad, it was the bomb.com.
Grilled miso glazed salmon. I used the same glaze as I used on the sea bass.
BBQ chicken
crunchy asian salad, click here for the recipe
grilled corn on the cob made by Joree
yum!
Sweet potato
Lauren’s apple tart that she made with the apples she picked from apple picking.
I am currently stalking her for the recipe. It was delicious!
The most adorable bride to be enjoying her apple tart on my bed!
Have a fabulous weekend!

Potluck Party!

Hey there party peeps and happy Monday! This Friday night I hosted a pre-birthday potluck party for all of my girl friends. I’ve been wanting to host a potluck party for a while so I rented out the party room in my building to make sure there was enough space. 
Everyone brought something to share whether it was wine, vodka, an appetizer, or desert. It was so much fun and the amount of food was insane! Here is the food re-cap…
Weissy’s homemade guac
 Dayna’s asparagus rolls
trying to see if the mini bottle of goose can fit in my pocket… thanks to Siera & Adam!
Sam’s homemade animal print cupcakes! GORGEOUS!
 B’s peanut butter pretzel truffles
OMG heaven!
Pilla’s red velvet cake whoopie pies & Sam’s mini chicken tacos
Not pictured: Blair’s pudding dirt cups which will be a featured recipe this week so stay tuned!
Special, shout out to Chelsea for bringing a GIANT veggie tray. Poor Chels got stuck in my elevator while bringing it up to the party. That’s love. Find out what I did with the leftover veggies in tomorrow’s post.
Is there anything I’m missing?
 I highly recommend hosting a potluck party of your own, it’s easy, stress free, and FUN!!!!!
Have a great day!

Dear Valentines Day…

Thank you for making my ass grow the size of Texas

I don’t feel bad for myself

You are what you eat

Which means I am what I ate last night for dinner at a fabulous Valentine’s Day potluck dinner with my girlfriends
bruschetta   crunchy asian salad  hummus dip Artichoke and spinach stuffed shells meat balls leaning tower of campaign last but not least… gooey butter cake
Must I say more??
For any of these recipes please leave a comment below or send me an email with your recipe request… my friends will be flattered to share their recipes with you!

Have a great day!

It’s peanut butter jelly time!

Good morning and Happy Valentines Day! My high school friends and I got together last night for a lingerie exchange party… so fun! All you ladies should definitely get together and do this with your girlfriends!

cupcakes funfetti obvs
heart shaped pizzas “chalky” Valenties hearts  
 I made peanut butter and jelly bars
Click on the “read more” link below to check out the recipe…


It’s peanut butter jelly time!  My friend Stephanie and I love the peanut butter and jelly bars from Goddess and the Grocer so I decided to make my own!
Peanut Butter and Jelly Barsusing 3 ingredients
Ingredients:

  • 1 pouch of store bought peanut butter cookie mix (yes, I cheated)
  • 1 jar of strawberry jam
  • 2/3 cup chopped peanuts

Prepare cookie mix according to directions Spread 2/3 of the dough in a prepared cake pan
*make sure you spray the pan with non stick cooking spray
spread the jam evenly over the dough
TIP: mix the jam up before adding to the dough so it will spread evently
drop small globs of the remaining peanut butter dough over the jam don’t worry if the jam isn’t covered
Bake for 40 minutes at 375 degrees, sprinkling the chopped peanuts over the bars half way through cooking.  You can use any kind of jam you like, I prefer strawberry jam (not jelly) because I like the texture. make sure you let them cool completely before cutting into bars yummy, gooey, peanut butter and jelly happiness!
Make these for your Valentines Day sweetie!
I personally think Valentines Day is the greatest excuse to eat all the chocolate I want.
Have a great day!

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