Friday Favorites: Host/Hostess Gifts

It is always nice to bring a little something as a “thank you” to the host of a party that you’re invited to. Here are a few ideas besides the usual flowers or wine/champagne (tried and true for a reason!) to keep in mind so that next time you’re invited somewhere, you’re not scrambling around last minute for a gift!


This is a gift that Numero Uno and I got at our engagement party. The giver knew that I love to cook, so a nice cutting board and beautiful Wusthof knife were absolutely perfect. If you know what kind of hobbies your host enjoys, gearing a gift towards that theme will be a sure winner.


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Friday Favorites – Wine Accessories

I have family and friends in town this weekend for mine and Numero Uno’s engagement party on Saturday evening. Tonight we’ll have everyone over for a relaxing barbeque and to spend time with those we don’t get to see nearly often enough! I’m sure several bottles of wine will be opened, so for those of you also enjoying the good stuff this weekend, here are a few of my favorite accessories!

We’re lovers of the red in this house. Especially so after a wine trip to Sonoma. The last vineyard on our trip was Truett Hurst, and there we discovered and sampled some lovely Zinfandels. We were hooked and joined their wine club, so now we receive 6 bottles of wine every 3 months. Their reds really are fantastic, but often need a little breathing room to open up and fully develop their flavors before drinking (like most reds). Pouring the bottle into a decanter prior to serving allows this process to occur. I’ve seen these come in all sorts of funky designs – even an antler-shaped one, but that may be a bit much, even for me 🙂

If you’re looking to get the same effect as decanting your wine, but don’t necessarily want to pour off the whole bottle (who am I kidding?), the aerator is your new best friend. This little tool serves the same function as the decanter, but at a much quicker rate. When wine is poured into the spout, air bubbles flow through it and helps open up the wine. It also seems to serve as a great party trick, as guests really seem to like to decant their own wine. Continue reading

Recipes: Ladies’ Brunch

Here are the recipes that I made for my ladies’ brunch! Enjoy and feel free to ask any questions!

Bloody Mary Mix

  • 3 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce (like Tabasco, Tapatio)
  • 2.5 ounces lemon juice (~2 lemons)
  • 1.5 ounceslime juice (~2 limes)
  • 2 tablespoons olive brine
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
  • 64 ounces tomato vegetable juice

Combine all ingredients together in a carafe or pitcher. Add vodka to each individual serving to keep mix fresh!

Fruit Purees for Bellini Bar

  • Fresh blueberries (I used organic)
  • Fresh raspberries (I used organic)
  • Fresh mango (I used organic)

In a blender, puree each fruit separately and strain through a fine sieve into separate containers. To make bellinis, pour a small amount of pureed fruit into the bottom of a champagne flute and top with champagne. I didn’t think that the fresh fruit needed any added sugar, but it is nice to have some simple syrup available if anyone wants a little added sweetness. Any fruit can be used for these! Get creative – strawberries, blackberries, etc.

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Ladies’ Brunch

As I mentioned in my last post, I hosted a brunch for some of my lady friends. I started my day with a spin class to get my blood flowing and energy up. When I came home, I began the final preparations.

Here’s what was on the menu!

Drinks (Click to see recipes!):

  • Coffee/tea
  • Bloody Marys
  • Bellini bar with homemade organic fruit purees


Eats (Click to see recipes!):

  • Baked egg casserole with mushrooms, spinach, and salsa
  • Bruleed grapefruit
  • Melon balls with lime zest and flaked maldon sea salt
  • Parmesan-crusted asparagus
  • Homemade granola with Greek yogurt
  • Apple cinnamon quinoa bites
  • Almond and pear tart


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