Refreshing Summer Cocktails and Beverage Recipes

Here are five delicious summer cocktail and beverage recipes that are great for entertaining or simply to enjoy after a long day of work.  The stacked beverage server from Horchow is also the perfect container for dispensing your refreshments of choice.

Tabernacle Crush from Food & Wine

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Mango Sangria from NIghtClub.com
 
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Bobby Flay’s Coconut Ice Tea
 
Rye and Pomegranate Punch from Bon Appetit
 
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Stacked Optic Glass Beverage Server from Horchow

5 Hearty and Exotic Chicken Soups

Remember when you were sick as a child and your mom fed you a bowl of homemade chicken soup?  It made you feel warm and comforted on the inside.   Often times the recipe was handed down from your grandmother to your mom and eventually to you as you grew older.  These five, soup recipes from Food and Wine are just as hearty and comforting as grandma's but with an enticing international  flavor.  Quick and easy to make, the  five recipes make a wonderful opening course.

 
And after your guest are gone, have a relaxing bath while you enjoy a JenSan scented pillar candle.

Happy Thanksgiving

Image credit: <a href="http://www.123rf.com/photo_23015087_traditional-thanksgiving-day-decoration-isolated-on-white-background-yellow-gourd-with-candles-and-g.html">photopiano / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
A safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving to all as you celebrate with friends and family before you tackle the malls.  And remember to drive carefully.

Recipe Thursday: Tempting Fall Desserts

As the big entertaining season approaches, I've been on the hunt for new dessert recipes to test out. Yes, we will have mom's traditional favorites at our holiday table but both she and I like to try something new each year.  Actually, I'll be truthful and admit that I'm on the hunt for new recipes for mom.  Even though she doesn't do it as much as she did in the past, at 83 she is still a great cook and come the holidays, the kitchen belongs to her.

Our mom Marjorie

She plans the menu and cooks almost everything herself.  Jennifer and I just help as needed. We know that we should be the ones doing all the hard work while mom rests.  However, cooking for the family has always been one of mom's greatest joys and so as long as she can still handle doing the work, we let her have at it.  She would be hurt if we told her that we were taking over and we are so happy to still have her with us that we would never take the joy away from her. We are happy to just handle the clean up. So in my hunt for some new deserts to try this year, here are some yummy delights that I've discovered

Pumpkin Cheese Cake from Martha Stewart

Bourbon Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Streusel from Food & Wine

Harvest Mousse with Spiced Almond Tuiles from Food & Wine

Apple Cranberry Pie from Whole Living

Spiced Blackberry, Quince and Apple Pavlova from Cooking Channel

Granny Smith Cobbler with White Cheddar Biscuits from BHG Written by Sandra

Fall Home Preview from Etsy

Fall Wooden Stacker by Fayes Attic Fall Wooden Stacker by Fayes Attic

 

Autumn, my favorite season of the year is fast approaching.   Jennifer hopes it will take a bit longer to come because she loves summer but it can't get here fast enough for me.  I love the sights, the smells, the colors and of course the fashions. As I was driving home last night, I realized that the trees had a yellow hue and are already slowly changing.  There is a street in our neighborhood where the trees overhang and walking or driving down it is like being in the south.  It looks truly beautiful in the fall with the many variations of color in the leaves. We lost a few during Hurricane Sandy last year but there are still enough for a beautiful photo which I will take and share with you when the leaves have fully turned. Over the next few weeks, Jennifer and I look forward to sharing some of our fall finds with you.  Today we start off with finds for the home.

Set of Four Bud Vases by Lynettes Art

Set of Four Bud Vases by Lynettes Art

Another thing I like about the fall are the beautiful decorations and the many opportunities to entertain such as harvest time, Halloween and Thanksgiving—just to name a few.  Shopping for seasonal decorations and entertaining accessories for these special occasions can be very time consuming.  One of the best online places to shop for the items on your list is Etsy.   You can find almost everything you will need on the site and best of all, the items are mostly all handmade by the artisans so you know that there is wonderful attention to detail paid to the creation of each item. I peruse the site and found a few items to inspire you in your search and you can find many more here

Wooden Nesting Bowls by Wind and Willow Home

Pumpkin Jack and Friend by JD Conwell

Autumn Pumpkin Gourds Photo by Shadetree Photography

Natural Woodland Wreath by Forevermore1

Autumn Napkin Rings by Lolly’s Cubby Hole
Set of 2 Color Block Pillows by Home Inc

Entertaining Ideas: Delicious Quick and Easy Salads for Those Hot Summer Days

Here are 4 quick and easy summer salad recipes that are anything but ordinary.  These light and refreshing recipes are sure to be enjoyed by your guests at your next picnic or barbecue.

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THAI CRAB SALAD by Daniel Boulud on Elle Decor

Served with crisp slices of cucumber, ripe mangoes, and papaya, the kicky salad can be premade and presented on individual plates or arranged buffet style so guests can create their own.  Click here for recipe.

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FRESH CORN SALAD from BHG

Summer-ripe sweet corn blends with fragrant basil and the zip of jalapeno in this mouthwatering summer salad recipe.

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CUCUMBER AND RADISH SALAD by Michael Lindley - from Bon Appetit

Cool and refreshing cucumbers are the perfect ingredient for a summer salad. They stay fresh for a long period of time and so work wonderfully in picnic salads.  Click here for recipe.

AVOCADO FRUIT SALAD from Southern Living

This fresh summer salad combines avocado, fruit and mint.  Click here for recipe.

Easter Entertaining: How to Fold a Bunny Napkin

Here are 6 simple steps on how to fold a napkin into a bunny for your Easter celebration from Town and Home.  This cute and beautiful arrangement is sure to cause a few "hare" raising comments.

Recipe Thursday: Buttermilk Oven Fried Chicken

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The Skinny: 264 calories per serving, 4 g fat (1 g saturated), 17 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 37 g protein Yes, you’re reading that right: Only 264 calories per serving in this comfort food classic. The secret? Your oven. See the Recipe here

EASTER DECORATING IDEAS FROM HGTV

image Shake off the winter blues with 25 bright and inspiring Easter decorating ideas from HGTV.

Death by Chocolate Candy Mushrooms

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500"]image Chocolate Candy Mushrooms by andiespecialtysweets[/caption] These delightful Shitake-esk mushrooms (botanist not withstanding) are the perfect balance of salty-sweet-chocolaty-enlightenment (Buddhist not withstanding). We fancy these mushrooms as an uncommon embellishment for a unique event, and a surprisingly delightful gift for any garden/gourmet enthusiast.