Friday, February 25, 2011

A Red Carpet Step

Sunday, February 27th, 2011 marks the 83rd Academy Awards Show.  What a great time to roll out the red carpet and get glammed up with your girlfriends.  Two of Hollywood’s hot young stars are hosting this years awards, James Franco and Anne Hathaway.  I’ll be tuning in just to see what their energy brings to the table this year.

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When you send out invites to your party be sure to also send out this years Oscar ballots.  This way guests can fill out their chooses prior to coming to the party. ( Make sure to have everyone dress in black tie.  How often do we get to get dressed up?  As guest enter the party snap lots of “paparazzi” photos.  Guests can be asked to bring food tying in to their favorite nominees.  For “True Grit” someone could bring grits, Irish soda bread for “The Fighter”, and perhaps good ole caramel popcorn for “Toy Story 3”.

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Of course every good Oscar party needs champagne.  Here’s a great Oscar worthy drink idea: (From Katie Lee, who will be serving this up to the actual stars)

Moet's Silver Screen Punch

1 (6 ounce) can pink lemonade concentrate, partially thawed
8 ounces pineapple juice
1 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
1 cup vodka
1 bottle Moët & Chandon
1 pineapple, cut into rings and frozen

In a blender, combine pink lemonade concentrate, pineapple juice, strawberries, and ginger. Blend until smooth. Pour into a punch bowl. Add vodka and stir to combine. Just before serving, pour in Moet. Add frozen pineapple rings.

You can also send everyone home with they’re very own Oscar. One simple version would be to top cupcakes with an “Oscar”.

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Of course if you have enough time, and are as skilled as the baking gurus at Bakerella then you could whip up your guests there very own Oscar cookies. 

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Enjoy the Oscars!! I am sure there will be some surprises, tune in early to check out the red carpet.  The fun will begin at 8pm Eastern on ABC.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Step for Love

The chaos of the holidays is now over.  But let us not forget that the day of cupid is fast approaching.  While many of us may still be putting away our holiday loot the holiday of love is just around the corner.  Perhaps you are waiting in baited anticipation for that little jewelry box.  But instead of making it about what you receive here are a few ways to make the day of love about both of you:

1.  Take this opportunity to take the pressure off your partner, tell him or her you are planning the evenings festivities.  Fill the night with your partners favorite things.  Cook his favorite meal or order his favorite in.  During dinner you have a playlist  filled with these great love songs: 

  1. Lips of An Angel – Hinder
  2. Rude Boy - Rihanna
  3. Thank God I Found You – Mariah Carey
  4. My Life Would Suck Without You – Kelly Clarkson
  5. Love Me If  You Can – Toby Keith
  6. Every Little Thing She Does is Magic – The Police
  7. All I Want is You – U2
  8. Whenever, Wherever – Shakira
  9. Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad – Def Leppard
  10. Heaven – Bryan Adams
  11. You Belong With Me – Taylor Swift
  12. Crazy Love – Michael Buble
Perfect song to finish the playlist with

Follow dinner up with a montage of his favorite movies, when the lights are out who knows what may happen.

2.   Have your honey meet you out for a couples massage.  While there, be sure to buy the lotion they use.  That way the next time you are inclined to use it your partner will be reminded of this intimate relaxing moment you shared together

3.  Give him an album of photos from a  photo shoot for his eyes only.  Many companies are now specializing in these boudoir photos.  Some to look into in the Chicago area :

4. Plan to act like kids.  Doing something carefree and void of holiday cliché will take the pressure off and you may find yourself valuing this more then that fancy dinner.  Perhaps tie on some rented shoes and bowl a few rounds, go a few rounds of air hockey at the arcade, or take each other on on the pool table.

Whatever you may do, remember the day is about celebrating your love.  It is not about what you do or don’t get but a time to remind that special person in your life how much you care.  Don’t put emphasis on the day being perfect just concentrate on your love for each other

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Super Steppe

Now this is my time to “partttttty”.  For those who don’t know I am a super football fanatic.  I am all for hosting a Super Bowl Extravaganza.  My beloved Patriots did not make it all the way this year but that is no reason to not embrace this fun occasion (with my boyfriend’s adored Steelers making a go at it I have even more reason to plan a little celebration). 


The main focus of the day will definitely be the game, but this a perfect time to indulge in bar food.  You can keep things guest friendly by making mini servings.  Guests are then able to try more things and fill up during commercials. 

Having a plate of mini sliders will sure to please all guests….make sure to have plenty of toppings so guests can cater their burgers to their liking.

A great pairing to the sliders would be a crock pot of chili, which can also be used as a topping on the burgers.  You of course will need some wings, no super bowl party is complete without them.  Change it up a bit by having an assortment.  Some of my favorites: the classic buffalo wing, parmesan garlic, teriyaki, and Caribbean jerk.  


Individual portions of nachos can be placed out.  Make a more grown up version with this recipe from Rachel Ray (my go to girl for easy people pleasing recipes):


  • Two 15.5-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Juice of 1 lime, plus lime wedges for serving
  • 1/2 white onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Pinch ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 20 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 bags tortilla chips (18 to 24 ounces total)
  • 3 ripe avocados, coarsely chopped
  • 1 pint fresh pico de gallo or salsa
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the black beans, lime juice, onion, olive oil, garlic, cayenne, cumin and a pinch salt and pepper. Cover and warm over medium-low heat, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer half of the mixture to a food processor; blend until smooth. Return the puree to the saucepan and stir; cover to keep warm.

  2. In a medium, microwaveable bowl, stir the goat cheese with the heavy cream. Cover and microwave on high power for 90 seconds; whisk until creamy. Set aside.

  3. Place a large handful of tortilla chips in individual paper bowls, drizzle with goat cheese sauce and top with the black bean mixture, avocado, pico de gallo and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges

In the words of Rachel “Yum-O”!  Super Bowl generally goes hand in hand with beer, pick up several different micro-brews to mix things up.  You can also serve bloody mary’s for those who do not want beer.

The décor for your game can be kept simple.  Plate your food on simple white platters for a clean and neutral look.  If you feel the need to add some flowers, to bring a little girl power to this testosterone  filled day, keep them simple as well.  Plain white buds in simple square vases will add just enough but not over power.  Most important is to make sure you have plenty of seating,  all with great views of the television.

Enjoy and remember GO STEELERS!!!!