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HOLIDAY entertaining

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Happy Valentine’s Day!

valentine's day flowers

Valentine’s Day has a special twist this year in my home. It is the first time that we made valentines for my son’s daycare classroom.

Since Zack is still too young to enjoy yet mass producing cards, we ordered classroom Valentine’s cards last month from Tiny Prints. We selected the Truckloads of Fun because Zack is really into transportation vehicles these days. We used his official daycare picture, in his uniform, for the photo. The picture was taken last October. When I look at him now, I can’t believe how much he transformed from a baby face to a little boy face. Continue Reading

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Get These If You Plan to Propose on Valentine’s Day

my phone is off for you

Valentine’s Day is one night where many guys decide to pop the question. If this is what you have in mind, guys, here are three uncommon things — besides your caring attention, true love and good look — that will set the right mood.

First of all, tell her that she has your undivided attention with this handkerchief. And you mean it since wrapping your phone inside this hanky blocks any calls and texts. Continue Reading

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

A Black and White Tabletop for a New Year Dinner

tabletop ideas for new year eve

If you prefer a clean look to glitters for your New Year celebrations, this modern black and white tabletop concept is for you. Assemble a bouquet and pick a stylish, festive tablecloth to polish the look. You could replace the flowers with four numbers on a stick that read 2013.

1. Small drop vase at CB2

2. Iittala Artik Cutlery Serving Set at Greener Grass Design

3. Contemporary Ice Bucket at William Ashley

4. Tasting plate at Uncommon Goods

5. Champagne Glass and Top Hat Silver Centerpiece at Partycheap.com

6. Nero tableware collection at Arabia Finland

I hope this mood board gives you ideas on how to set up your New Year’s table. Have fun tonight! But first, don’t forget to check out my bubbly cocktail suggestions here and there.

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

DIY Photobooth Ideas for New Year’s Eve

diy photobooth for new year

Nothing commemorate the passing to the New Year as a photobooth. You will see that it is not complicate to set up your own photobooth. Basically, you need to create a festive, photo-friendly backdrop and to supply your guests with a nice prop selection.

As a start, I suggest that you explore these three successfully executed photobooths. Take the time to read the articles/posts since they will supply you with all the tips you need to make your own photobooth for New Year’s Eve. Head first to HGTV. They produced a comprehensive DIY photobooth set up guide (top picture).

For years,  Jordan Ferney of Oh Happy Day! shared her photobooth projects. I really like her latest idea which uses a fringe garland as the backdrop.

big fringe garland photobooth
photo credits: Sarah Hebenstreit of Modern Kids Photography for Oh Happy Day

Lastly, the quality of your photos depends on the quality of your photographer and how comfortable your guests feels  in front of the camera.

new year's eve photobooth ideas
photo credits: studiOsnap

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Holiday Baking: From Snowflake Donuts to Snowman Cake Pops

snowflake donuts

Holiday baking is as much as decorating than the actual baking. These three desserts have the look and taste to impress your guests or your kids this holiday season.

Let’s start with my favorite one. Turning the regular round donuts into a snowflake is not complicated at all. To create the pattern, make 6 shallow cuts from the edge to the center of each round with a sharp paring knife.

candy-cane marshmallows
photo credits: Lisa Hubbard for Martha Stewart

An old recipe from Martha Stewart won my heart. Her Candy-Cane Marshmallows are peppermint marshmallows that get their red swirl from a quick marbleizing technique. People who tried the recipes reported excellent results.

snowman cake pops
photo credits: Lucia Puiggros via Amy Atlas blog

Lastly, if you are still into cake pops, you may to bake these cute snowman cake pops made by Laura and Maia from All You Need is Cupcake.

+ photo credits: Chris Court for Living etc. December 2012

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Pumpkin & Fennel Dukkah recipe

dukkah

Pumpkin & Fennel Dukkah recipe

I continue my series on easy holiday entertaining ideas with a Canadian twist on a popular Egyptian spice blend. This dukkah recipe replaces the traditional hazelnuts, pistachios and sesame seeds with pumpkin seeds and almonds or pine nuts.

When people asked me what they should keep in their pantry to be ready to entertain, dukkah naturally comes in mind. While your guests are enjoying a glass of wine or your welcome cocktail, cut a baguette, pour some olive oil in a large plate or an oil serving bowl, and serve dukkah in a low bowl. You dip bread into olive oil, then into the nut mixture. I have to warn you to make plenty since dukkah can become addictive. Leftovers can be stored into a airtight container for a month. Another easy to make appetizer is to cover goat cheese balls with dukkah.

Pumpkin & Fennel Dukkah recipe by Josee Robitaille

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) almonds or pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) sesame seeds
  • 4 teaspoons (20 ml) fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) sea salt

How to make it

dukkah preparation

  • Preheat your oven at 350 °F (180°C)
  • Grill the pumpkin seeds and almonds on a cookie sheet for 4 to 6 minutes (until they are lightly golden)
  • Deposit the sesame seeds into another cookie sheet and grill for 3 to 4 minutes (until they are lightly golden)
  • Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let cool completely
  • Deposit the fennel seeds into a pan and roast them 3 to 4 minutes at a medium heat. Then, remove from oven and let cool completely.
  • Pulse the pumpkin seeds and the pine nuts in the small bowl of a food processor to a coarse consistency. Be careful, it should not become a paste. Another option is to chop them with a knife.
  • Grind or place in a mortar and pestle the fennel seeds and pound until the mixture is crushed
  • Mix all the ingredients in a bowl

Voilà! Put another batch into a Mason jar, attach a gift tag and you will have a tasty hostess gift ready to bring during the holiday season.

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Holiday Cards for Modern Design Lovers

modern holiday cards

modern holiday cards
sourcing: Hip X-mas greeting cards | Mod Homestead gift tags (mini-notes) | Biltzen (deck the antler) At Fabulous Stationery

Personalized holiday cards usually say something about you. I like it when people can guess that it is for me. This is why I adore the cool illustrations at Fabulous Stationery. Their collection would appeal to an interior design, a decor store or a design-savvy family. A nice feature is that any of the patterns can be used for gift tags. It would be more original to select illustrations that share the same theme instead of picking exactly the same.

The last two models (see bottom montage) would make party invites that people will not want to miss.

modern holiday greeting cards
sourcing: Tweet | Goody GumdropsGlam Greetings

Do you still order personalized holiday cards?

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Gross and Realistic Brain Cakes for Halloween

zombie brain cake details

zombie brain cake details
photo credits: Blog d’inspiration of Canal Vie

Beware that these Halloween cakes ideas are not for the squeamish type. Since being scare is part of the appeal of Halloween, maybe you should dare a peek. If you are up for it, these Halloween brain cakes will be the talk of the night.

Brain Cakes for Adults

zombie brain cake
photo credits: Blog d’inspiration of Canal Vie

The first cake gave me chills. It looks so amazing that I had to share it even though the recipe is only in French. I give a big applaud to Madame Carrée who shaped the brain with marshmallows, icing sugar, raspberry coulis and a few more ingredients for Blogue d’inspiration.

brain cupcakes
photo credits: Not Quite Nigella

Lorraine Elliott, a cake and food enthusiast who writes Not Quite Nigella, shared how to make her Blood Clot and Brain Cupcakes for an Happy Friday the 13th party. She made it more grotesque by hiding a blood clot inside her cupcakes. The blood effects on the knife adds to the scene.

Halloween Brain Cakes for Kids

brain in a jar cupcake

For kids that are old enough to not have nightmares about it, you can creep them out with these Brain cupcakes in a jar made by Kristan of Confessions of a Cookbook Queen for Living Locurto. Kristan gave good tips that make the brain frosting simple. To reduce the amount of frosting, she placed a piece of cake in the middle.

To complete the look, make sure to download the free Halloween Brains in Jar Labels & Tags available at Living Locurto or to design your own.

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Make Your Own Skull Cookie Cutters

DIY skull cookie cutters

DIY skull cookie cutters
photos: DIY Skull Cookie Cutters from Hello! Lucky

That is a clever idea from Hello! Lucky. It is so simple that I wonder why I didn’t think of it before. They turned a round cookie cutter into a skull cookie cutter. Pliers will create a more defined bend. But don’t worry if you don’t have pliers, you can use your fingers to pinch the sides.

Use your favorite sugar cookie recipe to make your own Skull Cookie Pops. Hello! Lucky suggests to use the Perfect Sugar Cookie (and Cookie Pop) from Sweetapolita. Have fun baking!

While we are on the topic of skulls, you should check the  DIY Sidewalk Skulls that first inspired these cookies, this is another project from Hello! Lucky.

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Halloween Party Favor Bags: To Buy or To Do It Yourself

halloween linen bags

halloween linen bags
photo credits: Vicki Lynn Photography at HGTV  – available at The TomKat Studio Shop $9.99 USD for 6

If you throw an Halloween, Halloween party favor bags are a must. One option is to print, draw, stencil, stamp or embroider an illustration on a paper bag or a muslin bag. The other is to buy handmade bags. Either way, you will get something that stands out from the crowd.

halloween treat bags
sourcing: Luchador Spider Treat Bags by Maple & Belmont $3.50 USD for 5

Handcrafted Paper Bags

halloween treat bags
sourcing: Happy Halloween goodie bags by Maple & Belmont $3.50 USD for 5

These cheerful 2-color models are produced by a husband and wife team from Norfolk,Virginia. Their treat bags are available on their Website Maple & Belmont.

halloween card collection
sourcing: Halloween card collection by Maple & Belmont $18 for set of 5 cards

While you are shopping at Maple & Belmont, have a look at their Halloween card collection.


sourcing: spooky Halloween gift bags by momentinthesun $24 CAD for 12 bags

My next suggestion are these spooky Halloween gift bags with scary skeletons, wicked witches and poison labels. These little shopping bags feature an handle. They are made by Tracey of momentinthesun, a girl from Vancouver.

halloween ghostly popcorn bags diy

Better Homes & Gardens teaches us how to transform a plain vellum bag into a ghostly popcorn or candy bag in 3 simple steps.  First, curve the top edge with scissors. Make the eyes by glueing two wiggle eyes to the front. For take-out bags, I would punch holes on both sides to close the bag with a tied bow.

Spider treat bags diy
photo credits: Pillowhead Designs on Flickr

The next DIY idea uses leftovers. You create your own spider treat bags by sewing pieces of paper grocery bags. For the spiders, Angela of Pillowhead Designs use felt, a black marker and googly eyes.

Fabric Gift Bags for Halloween

If you are looking for a reusable option, then, fabric party bags are the way to go.

Party Favor Bags for a gothic halloween party

For a Gothic Halloween party, add a touch of glam with Swarovski rhinestones.  $12 USD for 6 by kathyjacobson on Etsy.

halloween boo candy bags

You only need to supply the treats with the next set. It includes 20 Halloween trick or treat organic muslin cotton treat bags and 20 Boo kraft gift tags. $34 USD for 20 by JennifersCookies. Note that Jennifer has many more drawings to choose from.

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Halloween Desserts and Milk Shakes

halloween desserts and milk shakes

I would be proud to serve these desserts for Halloween. They look awesome! As you might have guessed, they are all from Martha Stewart.

halloween desserts and milk shakes
photo credits: Almond Brownie Coffins | Orange Jack-o’-Lanterns with Sorbet | Witch cupcakes | Boo-nilla Shake recipe

On Halloween morning, I want to serve the Boo-nilla shake to my son.  To make your own, simply paint the ghost faces inside the glass with melted chocolate. You can decorate your glasses up to one day ahead. But wait until serving to make the milk shakes.

Any of these treats would make a great finale to the Spooky Forest Halloween Party Food I showcased three weeks ago.