February 9, 2016

Valentine’s Champagne Spritzer

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Well friends, it’s that time of year again – Valentine’s Day! Bringing with it an overload of pink, hearts and sugar.  I love all of the typical Valentine traditions, and have especially become a fan of the rise in popularity of Galentine’s Day celebrations.  I am a singleton, and love that I have an excuse to celebrate the holiday of love with my best lady friends.

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For my Galentine’s Day celebrations drink idea, I had to go with a champagne-based cocktail recipe, because i’m sure that we can all agree that nothing says Valentine’s Day like some bubbly.  To take it one step further, I decided to make the drink girly and red.  No explanation needed.  Thankfully, we had some leftover pomegranate juice in the LMP studio fridge, which I used to give this cocktail some color.

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Here’s what you’ll need:
-bottle of your favorite sparkling wine (I used prosecco)
-strawberry soda
-glitter sprinkles for garnish

Here’s what to do:
1) Sprinkle some glitter onto a flat plate.
2) Wet the rim of your glass, and then dip into the plate of sprinkles to garnish your glass.

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3) Pour some strawberry soda into each glass, about 1-2 inches worth depending on how big your glass is.

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4) Fill the rest of each glass with your sparkling white wine.

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And that’s it! You should get a nice deep pink or red color from mixing the strawberry soda in there.  This cocktail is light, sweet and simple, and perfect for sipping and sharing with your girlfriends!

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To style this bad boy, I took some conversation hearts to line the bottom of a tray, which added some pops of color and dimension to my drink display.  Also adding some color were these gorgeous ranunculus, which we had used for a Bat Mitzvah last weekend AND a special Valentine’s Day brunch that we had in our studio.  Those flowers just kept on giving!

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I also thought it would be nice to serve these drinks with some mini vanilla cupcakes, which I topped with red glitter lip toppers, and placed on a white paper plate with silver stars, both of which can be found in our Pink Party in a Box! Be sure to grab your own Pink Party for all the decor and tableware that you need to throw a chic Valentine’s Day celebration.

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Happy Valentine’s and Galentine’s Day to you all!

xx, Abby
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February 8, 2016

Hooray for Little Miss Party!

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You may have noticed Little Miss Party in a Box is now sold on Diapers.com. We are so excited with the assortment of boxes we built exclusively for those who just don’t have the time to pick out all the party supplies needed to throw a party.

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Our assortment of boxes include tableware and decor for baby showers, kids birthday parties, your child;s first birthday party and then there is our simply chic party that could be used for just about any celebration!

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Each Little Miss Party in a Box includes a hand selection of disposable tableware and decor. We found hand stamped bamboo cutlery that is not only gorgeous but also biodegradable.

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We love bright colors in general but especially when it comes to throwing a party. Adding color is the easiest way to brighten up a table!

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To decorate we included a set of balloons that spell things like HOORAY and PARTY and the best part is these balloons do not require helium! You simply blow these up with a straw that each balloon comes with. Genius.

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Now this you’re going to want to check out…we worked with our friends over at Animoto to film a short video reel to show you just how easy our party boxes are to set up…

Now what are you waiting for? Let’s Party!

Shop the Box at Diapers.com.

PARTY TIME

Photos by: Diane Hu Photographry

xx, Seri
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February 6, 2016

A last minute Game Watching Spread

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The big day is just one day away and it’s not too late to throw together an easy and impressive spread. The key is to keep the menu simple; I know, game watching food is the best. And it’s tempting to want to make everything, but stick with us and you will be sure to wow your crowd.

The key to our menu is efficiency. We grilled chicken and used it two ways : Chicken nachos and chicken tortilla soup…get it…”soup”er bowl. Pretty creative, right?

Here’s how to get it done:

Start by grilling your chicken…and if you live in NYC, this will most likely take place out on your small patio with a tiny, tiny grill. We used Kingsford charcoal to make for an easy fire and seasoned our chicken with olive oil, salt and pepper but feel free to add some cumin, chili powder and garlic powder, for an extra kick of flavor.
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Once the chicken is cooked to perfection, you can set it aside. First up – Chicken Nachos. Nachos come in all shapes and sizes, and we love them all. We simply chopped up the chicken (you can also shred with two forks), and layered it on top of the chips along with shredded jack & cheddar cheeses. Layer. Layer. Layer. You cannot have too many layers!
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Pop it in a 350 degree oven for 5-10 minutes, or cheese is bubbly. Remove, top with homemade pico di gallo and shredded cilantro.
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Then set out additional toppings on the side, so guests can create their ultimate nacho combo. Try jalepenos, scallions, salsa, guacamole, chili and sour cream. Nothing works better for watching the game then a nacho bar!
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Now that we have our nachos ready to go, let’s get started on the chicken tortilla soup. We love this recipe, but we used our grilled chicken instead of the baked chicken it calls for. The beauty of this dish is it can be made completely in advance and simply warmed up as guests arrive. And don’t forget the toppings! A nice dollop of sour cream, sprinkle of Monterey Jack cheese, a few avocado chunks and of course a nice dusting of chopped cilantro. You can also throw some more of your crispy tortilla strips right on top as well.
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We happened to have these brown bowls in our LMP kitchen…don’t they look like footballs?
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So now that our main dishes are done, we wanted to throw together one more quick item to round out our spread. What are we missing? DIP! Watch how simple this bacon cheddar dip is…I bet you even have all of these ingredients already in your house – cheese, bacon, scallions, sour cream and a package of Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning mix.
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We served ours with blue corn chips and some sliced veggies.
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So now it’s time to set the table. Pick up a roll of kraft paper at your local craft store for your tablecloth. Then mark yard lines using masking tape. The 50 yard line was drawn using a white paint marker.
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Hang a piece of chalkboard paper on your wall and you can create an easy “scoreboard” menu.
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Plastic tumblers are perfect for beer, but it’s easy to misplace your glass or confuse it with someone else’s. Well, we’ve got you covered. Football tattoos applied to each cup are the perfect way to let your guests personalize their drinking vessel and show their team spirit at the same time. Here’s how we did it :
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CHEERS!
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Photos by: Dave Robbins Photography
See more game watching fun on the Gather Now Tumbler Feed.

xx, Seri
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February 5, 2016

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

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I have to be honest. I really have trouble coming up with lunch dishes lately. On occasion, there are days where I will just open the fridge and eat what falls out. This folks was one of those days. The first thing I spotted was some leftover Foccacia bread which I had made the night before to accompany our pasta.

Ever make this bread from scratch? It’s the same concept as making pizza dough and but even easier. OR even easier than making the dough from scratch is buying a ready made pizza dough and following the steps to make the Foccacia. Or wait. Even easier than all of that is buying a foccacia bread at the market. I like option 3 best but it really is fun to make it yourself.

I had a few pieces hanging around, some suspect goat cheese, frozen sweet peas and when I moved over the peas I found some edamame.

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All good ingredients to slap on top of this bread right?

Before I get to the recipe I wanted to tell you about the brunch I made for my son this past weekend. Yep. The baby turned 25. A quarter of a century old. OH to be 25 again. He was such a cutie as a baby and his brothers were pretty darn sweet too. These are my three musketeers who look a bit different now. I can’t with these guys….I just cannot.

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My eldest son is turning 30 in May, the second eldest will be 28 in March and the little guy just turned 25 last week.

The whole family joined in on the celebration and it was great success. So where are the pictures from this brunch? There were NONE. It was the first time no one took out a camera. I have no clue why. My only guess was ….everyone was so hungry they didn’t want to do anything but EAT. And eat they did. At one point I was the only one in the kitchen and there was complete silence coming from the dining room. I thought they left but they actually had their mouths too full to speak.

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The sign of a good meal is silence and forks moving around.

Here was the menu:

Berry Mimosas
Pan Fried Cajun Shrimp
Cheese Noodle Kugel
Spinach Salad with Strawberries, Pecans and Poppyseed Dressing (thank you Daniella)
Cold Soba Noodles with fresh vegetables and snap peas (thank you Mandy)
Egg Salad
Tuna Salad
Smoked Salmon (lox)
Cream Cheese
Assorted bagels
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Cinnamon Walnut Coffee Cake
Chocolate Babka
Fruit and Berry Cheesecake (thank you Cruz)
Mixed Berries

Um.

I have to tell you. I made enough to feed an army and there was hardly any leftovers. I love leftovers ya know why?

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Because today’s leftovers are tomorrow’s lunch.

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FOCCACIA WITH GOAT CHEESE, AVOCADO, SWEET PEAS & EDAMAME

One Recipe Foccacia –Click Here or feel free to use store bought

-1 avocado, smashed
-¼ cup each steamed sweet peas and edamame
-¼ cup of shredded red cabbage if desired
-¼ cup crumbled goat cheese
-extra virgin olive oil
-salt and pepper to taste

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1) Toast a few pieces of foccacia that have been been shmeared with olive oil
2) Layer avocado, sweet peas, edamame, red cabbage and crumbled goat cheese
3) Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve warm

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xx, Debi
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January 29, 2016

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

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Did I tell you that I got a Vitamix as a holiday gift from thefeedfeed and Vitamix? Well. Yessiree I did and I’m very thankful to both of them for sending this my way. The only way I can describe this piece of machinery is…..

It’s the Ferrari of blenders.

Here are some of things IT MAKES:

1) the best smoothies EVER
2) HOT soup….yes HOT
3) frozen desserts – I can’t even
4) juice
5) milk from nuts and other things
6) dough
7) batters
8) nut butters
9) dressings
10) ground flour
11) purées
12) dips and spreads

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And to top it all off…….it cleans itself….yes there’s a cleaning program button too.

What more do you need? I wish it would also do my laundry but I won’t push my luck.

My husband has been using it more than me lately as he is juicing and smoothiefying all his vegetables – Yes, it’s January and he’s on a diet.

This past weekend, I thought it might be a good idea for me to finally take this baby for a whirl. I had all the necessary ingredients to make a berry frozen yogurt (two is all you need….can you believe that?)

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Oh and I wanted to dress it up with mint. Mint is one thing that grows in our garden. I think I may have mentioned that in the past. The thing about mint is this…..when it grows…….IT GROWS. It actually takes over. Like a viral plant. I have seen cases where mint can grow from one backyard to the neighbours. It’s insane. Well, up until a few weeks ago I picked my last sprig of parsley from the garden.

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Believe it or not, there was still some hearty mint out there. Last week it snowed – A LOT. I wasn’t sure if the mint had endured the frost and amount of snow that came down but I needed to check it out. This was it folks. Buried beneath a heap of snow, I struck gold, or mint in this case. I think I have finally come to the conclusion that our garden is closed for the season.

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Here’s what I ended up with. A bowl of heavenly deliciousness. This was the easiest thing ever to make and you can serve it straight from your Vitamix OR do what I did…….freeze it a bit longer so that you have a nice solid scoop to work with.

I’m sorry but I can’t stop looking at this.

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The colour.

The texture.

The everything.

I love you Mrs. Vitamix.

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2 Ingredient Black & Blue Frozen Yogurt
-1½ cups (360 g) yogurt (for Vegan you can use coconut yogurt)
-1½ lbs (680 g) frozen berries (I used blackberries & blueberries)

1) Place all ingredients into the Vitamix in order listed.
2) Select the Frozen Dessert program.
3) Start machine & blend for 55 seconds.
4) I needed to use the tamper to get all the frozen berries to blend.
5) Serve immediately or place in freezer to firm up a bit more.

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xx, Debi
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