Summertime is finally here and with that comes fun summer parties! I love hosting during the summer months because we can utilize our outdoor areas for larger crowds. Over the past few years I’ve thrown parties for Cinco de Mayo, Memorial Day and 4th of July holidays as well as impromptu get togethers that are as simple as pizza and ice cream. Last week, I decided to invite some friends and neighbors over for a little block party action thanks to a fun collaboration with Pier 1 Imports.
Pier 1 Imports has so many great colorful outdoor entertaining pieces that are colorful, affordable and most importantly kid-friendly. I love all of the acrylic and melamine pieces in bold primary colors. I decided to keep things simple with pizza and ice cream sundaes for the kids and found these multi-colored acrylic glasses to serve sundaes from. They will also make great wine glasses this summer!
Speaking of adult beverages, margaritas felt perfect for this casual summer block party. I made a few pitchers in advance and left on the table for friends to refill as needed. Not to mention the unused margarita glasses were great for serving up sprinkles for ice cream sundaes. The kiddos enjoyed dinner and ice cream, picnic style on easy gingham washable blankets and the parents dined on a summery tablescape with a mix of bright colored napkins and placemats. Bring on summer!
I still envy students with real summers, but I do love the built-in long weekends that come with this season. It all starts with Memorial Day, which is arguably the best of them all, as you have all that fun in the sun to look forward to. Here are five links to read wherever you may be today through Monday:
In honor of Cinco de Mayo, we teamed up with the fabulous Marcia from Smart in the Kitchen to bring y’all some festive recipes for your party weekend! Today’s collaboration started when I offered to host my daughter’s class at our house for dinner a few weeks back. I love throwing parties and host often but have never hosted anything for a group this size (20 or so people) that requires dinner. For bigger groups, I typically outsource the food aka order pizzas (ha!) or do easy appetizers. But dinner for 20, I was in over my head.
I immediately called Marcia and asked for ideas. Clueless in the Kitchen meet Smart in the Kitchen! She had me at kale guacamole! Marcia was also working on a post for fajitas for a crowd and promised it was SUPER easy. If you’ve got a grill (check!) and have a Trader Joe’s nearby (check!), you too, can rock some delicious fajitas for a big group. I did cheat and pick up some rice and beans from my favorite Mexican restaurant. That’ll be our little secret though. Another secret I’ll share, the bagged salads at Whole Foods. That’s right, salad in a bag folks. The Taylor Farms organic Sirancha ranch chopped salad is delish. It comes with tortilla strips that aren’t soggy, sunflower seeds and shredded parmesan cheese. Yum. And add in some avocado and it screams made from scratch. For an appetizer I threw out some crudités with Marcia’s homemade ranch dressing. And served her margaritas for a crowd, another super simple recipe (3 ingredients!) that can be made ahead! After a few refreshing margs, the entire crowd will think the meal was fantastic no matter how it turned out anyway. Ha! Happy Cinco de Mayo, y’all!
If you use a food processor to make this, there’s no need to chop the kale fine. If you aren’t using a food processor, be sure to chop the kale and onions very well.
Juice of 2 limes (about 2 tablespoons)
4 small Lacinato kale leaves, stems removed and roughly chopped
½ cup white or yellow onion, chopped (or less to taste)
¼ cup cilantro leaves
1 small Serrano or jalapeno, deseeded and chopped
3 large ripe avocados, halved, pitted and peeled
½ teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
In the bowl of your food processor, combine the lime juice, kale, onion, cilantro, Serrano and salt. Pulse until combined.
Add the avocado and pulse until you reach your desired consistency.
Taste for seasoning and add salt or lime juice if necessary.
If you do not have a food processor, make sure the kale and cilantro is well chopped and combine ingredients with a potato masher or mash well with a fork.
This easy salsa verde will save for a week stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Use it on scrambled eggs, tacos, chicken and grilled flank steak. Tomatillos contain natural pectin, so don’t be surprised if the consistency of the salsa thickens after it’s refrigerated.
1 pound tomatillos
¼ teaspoon salt
Fresh ground pepper
1 serrano pepper, seeds and ribs removed and finely chopped (this amount can be halved or quartered to taste)
½ white or yellow onion, chopped (about ¾ cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
Juice of 2 limes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Remove husks and place tomatillos on a half-sheet pan lightly coated in oil. Roast in a preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until soft and browned.
Place the roasted tomatillos and the remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until the salsa comes together. Be careful when lifting the lid because of the steam.
Quick Pickled Red Onions
Pickled red onions take only 10 minutes to put together, but they are better after sitting for 3-4 hours. In her book, Tacolicious, Sara Deseran makes these with the addition of Mexican oregano which adds a nice flavor.
1 cup rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar or coconut sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 red onion, cut in half and sliced very thin into half moons
In a medium sauce pan, bring to a boil the vinegar, water, sugar and kosher salt.
Place the sliced red onion in a glass or ceramic bowl and pour the warm rice vinegar mixture over the onions. Cover and soak for 3-4 hours.
My mom’s favorite holiday is Easter, and it’s hard to blame her. With winter behind us and the sunshiney seasons ahead, it seems like the best of 2017 is still to come. Here are some good reads while you unwind with your family over the long holiday weekend:
Springing forward took me by total surprise this year. My sleep cycle is finally up to speed, though, and I’m very much looking forward to dinners during the last hours of daylight. Here’s five links for your weekend reading pleasure:
I wore today’s getup for a GNO with Lauren, L. Avenue’s fab contributor on all things fashion. Lauren is my sale maven, always finding the best sales on the web, like yesterday’s holiday sales that I hope y’all took advantage of. Lauren and I met for drinks here the other night. I love today’s gold top for so many reasons but most of all because it’s just so easy and chic. A metallic jacquered print is so chic and the cut is just right for hiding a mommy middle. I’ve been rocking these slimming black skinnies and love the gold zipper detail and a gold and black pump is sure to put a little extra pep in my step.
Hello, friends! To shake things up from my weekly Friday Five, I’m posting today instead. I often find I have more mindspace to fully digest good reads from around the web on the weekend, so I hope you can set aside some time today for these:
I’ve never owned a pair of truly high-waisted jeans, until now. This round-up encouraged me to order this pair (from none other than Abercrombie & Fitch) without trying them on, and for under $40, I have new favorites.
I’ll never quit loving New York, but I don’t know if I’ll ever live there like I always dreamed. This post instilled that sentiment all the more.
In light of this week’s headlining news, I found it timely to see Natalie Portman in Jackie this week with girlfriends. Her performance is stunning, and I loved the way the story was told, through her careful conversations with a journalist and priest.
Looking forward to joining Lyndsey and all the most stylish ladies about town at A Couture Cause this Thursday. I hope to see you there!
It’s Friday the 13th! Piggybacking off my post on resolutions last week, I want to talk fear today. I think there’s two camps of people when we start a new year: those fearful of what the future might bring and those excited to take it on. Funny enough, the same nerves that manifest fear and anxiety within you also create excitement. So, the next time fear comes knocking, channel that energy into excitement. I’ve rounded up five articles that touch on something a lot of us fear in hopes that they inspire you to embrace these things rather than shy away in 2017.
new places :: I’m heading to San Francisco for the first time next month, but I’m all intrigued by places much unlike my own like Africa, Australia and India.
It’s November, and there are new people in this world, notably Lyndsey’s baby. Her hands will be very literally full, so I’m savoring this admittedly selfish time in my life where I can go out and about with WD, friends, family and just me. So, today’s Friday Five features my Fall bucket list.
It really feels like summer now, quite literally. Being cold natured, I welcome the hot Houston temperatures that come with this time of year. So, today I bring you five things from around the web that I identify with the season and have inspired me to make the most of it:
frozen treats :: Elevate the ultimate poolside treat, popsicles, with your cocktail of choice. Moscow Mule for me!