Food & Wine

Uses for Rosemary

Yesterday I did some long overdue gardening. The herb garden in particular had gotten way too unruly, most especially the rosemary bush. So I took my clippers and chopped away. When finished, I had a garbage bag full of rosemary sprigs and I could have trimmed even more.

I thought it would be a shame to throw it all away so I tried to come up with some uses for it. I made a bouquet out of some and then decided to also make a rosemary simple syrup. I used this recipe from The Kitchn. I plan to use the syrup to make rosemary lemonade or maybe a cocktail of some kind. The simple syrup will keep in the fridge for up to one month so I have time to figure it out.

Have excess herbs you don’t know what to do with? Try drying them, making herb butter, a simple syrup, flavored olive oil… so many options!

Late Night Snacks

As your guests dance the night away, they might long for an extra bit of sustenance. With so many late night snack options, here are a few treats sure to provide satisfaction that will have your guests raving for years to come.

French fries in dotted paper cones, via the knot, photo credit Justin and Mary Photography


Give your guests a boost of caffeine - iced coffee topped with cotton candy, via Martha Stewart Weddings


There's nothing better than breakfast for dinner! Serve your guests delicious pancakes or French Toast Sticks, via Hostess with the Mostess Blog



A popcorn buffet allows guests to pick from a variety of toppings, via Pen N' Paperflowers

1920’s-Inspired Signature Drinks

Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby provides a luscious, opulent perspective of the 1920’s. Influencing fashion, events, and decor, the movie gives a fresh take on 1920’s flair. As you consider your signature drink for cocktail hour, keep in mind these revamped classics.

French 75 - lemon, gin, and simple syrup topped off with champagne, via Epicurious, Photo Credit Elizabeth Perrin


Bee's Knees

Gin, honey and lemon combine to make the Bee's Knees, via LA Weekly, photo credit Eric Alperin


Southside Cocktail Recipe

Gin meets lime, mint and seltzer to create a refreshing Southside, via Inspired Taste



With a wide variety of options, the Highball offers a classic your guests will love, via Time Out Chicago, photo credit Martha Williams

Spring Slow Cooker Recipes

I am a huge fan of the slow cooker. It is such a convenient way to put a meal on the table when your schedule is extra busy. It is not easy to find good slow cooker recipes, though. I have found the ones on Williams-Sonoma’s website to be particularly yummy. I wonder how these Spring recipes are from Better Homes & Gardens … the pulled pork sliders look delicious and I think I will need to try them!

Slow cook sliders via Better Homes and Gardens

Delicious Champagne Punch

I had a small soiree at my house last night and served appetizers and a selection of desserts. I always try to offer a special cocktail in addition to wine, water, and nonalcoholic beverages. Last night, I was inspired to do a champagne punch to complement the menu and found this delicious recipe on Epicurious. It does pack a wallop, but it is really festive and tasty. It would be beautiful served in this silver-banded punch bowl from Williams-Sonoma.

Silver-rimmed punch bowl from Williams-Sonoma

Valentine’s Day Ice Cubes

Whether you are hosting guests for a Valentine’s Day get together or just want to show that special someone you care, this project is for you! These pomegranate filled ice cubes are easy to make and will instantly make any drink you serve that much more special.


Pomegranate Heart Ice Cubes

You can find a step-by-step process on how to make these ice cubs here, but essentially you just put three pomegranate seeds in a heart shaped ice tray. Freeze and then serve in your drink of choice!


Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

I think I found my new favorite Fall dessert! These pumpkin whoopie pies from Epicurious are amazing. I followed the recipe to a tee. The only modification I would suggest is not candying the pecans (the whoopies are sweet enough on their own) and press the pecans into the cream rather than rolling them on the sides.


Easy Entertaining: Let the Appliances do the Work

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the thought of entertaining. Most of us put a lot of pressure on ourselves to make sure that everything is perfect which often deters us from entertaining at all. Never let expectations keep you from extending gracious hospitality to those that you care about. Instead, find ways to make entertaining even easier and efficient.

One way to make entertaining easier is to rely on faithful appliances and let them do the work. Here are three appliances that can transform your entertaining from intimidating to quick and easy.


Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker with Extra Freezer Bowl from Williams-Sonoma

An automatic ice cream maker is a nice way to put a special touch on your gathering with a homemade treat. You can find lots of great recipes for ice cream online, or you can choose to purchase an ice cream starter from a store like Williams-Sonoma. Either way, making your own ice cream is super easy and is always impressive to guests.

Breville Bread Maker from Williams-Sonoma

Similarly, a bread maker is a great way to offer that homemade touch. Homemade bread is not only delicious, but it is super easy to make. Simply dump the ingredients in the bowl and turn on the machine. You can time the bread so that it comes out at the exact time you plan on serving it. There is nothing better than warm bread and butter!

All-Clad Deluxe Slow Cooker from Williams-Sonoma

Lastly, a slow cooker is a tried and true easy entertaining trick. Again, pile in the ingredients and turn on the timer. Done! I am really fond of the recipes that Williams-Sonoma has online, especially their slow-cooker lasagna (great as leftovers, too!) and Thomas Keller’s slow-cooker cassoulet. The latter has a few more steps than a traditional slow cooker recipe, but it is worth it and is one of my favorite recipes of all time. Great for winter.

So next time you entertain, let the appliances do the work for you. Set the timer, and voila!

Sugarfina: New Source for Your Sweet Tooth

I am anxious to try some of the cool candies offered by a brand new online candy shop called Sugarfina. Their offerings are really original and would make for great favors at a wedding, shower, or other event. In honor of the latest addition to the National Zoo family, these chocolate licorice pandas would be particularly fun! Also fun is their cocktail party sampler which includes a tasting alcohol-inspired candies.


Chocolate Licorice Pandas from Sugarfina

Cocktail Hour Tasting from Sugarfina