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February 2009

January 2009

Blog Luv Award!

blog luv award





Master of parties, Amy of Stem picked Let's Entertain for a Blog LUV award! I'm so thankful and honored to be chosen!  Thanks Amy! Here are ten blogs I LUV:

Honorees please follow these instructions and share the LUV!

1. Put the logo on your blog or post. (You can highlight the photo and text of this post and copy/paste wherever you need to...start your highlight from the bottom up to get the photo)

2. Nominate at least 10 blogs which show GREAT ATTITUDE and/or GRATITUDE

3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.

4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.

5. Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received the award.

Now, here is my list of LUV-LY blogs:

1. Mix, Mingle & Glow

2. No Fuss Fabulous

3. Paper and Cake

4. Tangarang

5. Piece of Cake

6. Design by Kendall

7. All Things Lovely

8. Setting the Mood

9. Tastefully Entertaining

10.Totally Tabletops


I'm IN LOVE With This Dessert

I like any dessert layered in a bowl and especially one with brownies and Cool Whip!  Major plus-its EASY to make!  This would make a great Valentine's Day dessert.

Chocolate Passion

Chocolate_Passion 

3 cups cold milk
2 pkg.  (4-serving size each) JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP French Vanilla Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
1   baked 9-inch square brownie layer, cooled, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 5-1/2 cups)
1 pt. (2 cups) raspberries

BEAT milk and dry pudding mixes in large bowl with wire whisk 2 min. or until blended. Gently stir in 1 cup of the whipped topping.

PLACE half of the brownies in 2-qt. serving bowl; top with layers of half each of the pudding mixture, remaining whipped topping and raspberries. Repeat all layers.

REFRIGERATE at least 1 hour. Store leftovers in refrigerator

(photos and recipes from kraftfoods.com)


My Mosaic Wine Bottles

I had so much fun making these!  I didn't cut a whole in the bottom because the cord barely shows coming out of the top.  I think they turned out pretty well, what do you think?

Orange/Gold

Winter 2009 007 

Multi

Winter 2009 023 

For my crafty friends you can find out how to make these here.  For my not so crafty friends I think I'm going to put these up on HostessJo.com if you'd like to order one.  Or you can email me at joanna@hostessjo.com.  I can do pretty much any colors.


Crafty Wine Bottle

For my wine tasting party I've been trying to think of some ways to decorate to go along with the wine theme.  I was going to make a couple of those wine bottles with the lights in them then I saw this spin on the traditional style that is even better!

Mosaic Style

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Isn't this so pretty?  This one was made for Christmas but the marbles come in all colors.  You don't have to worry about the cord and lights showing through.  I love how it casts the colors all over.  If you'd like to make one yourself, check out this article.  Well I'm off to gather my supplies!

(photo from ehow.com)


"Apple" Shower Centerpiece Inspiration

I'm searching and searching for a unique centerpiece idea for the Apple Shower I am planning.  I would love to incorporate Apple Blossoms, I'm afraid they will bloom before May though.  Does anyone know anything about Apple Trees and when they bloom?  Or if I can purchase Apple Blossoms from a florist?

Here are a couple of cute centerpiece ideas from ehow.com:

I like how this one is smaller. For the area we are working with it would fit great.

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This one is a bit more formal but still beautiful.

Arata-441_Full 

Ok, I'm back on the hunt...


Everything you ever needed to know about cheese...almost!

I'm hosting a Wine Tasting Party next month and I've never done one.  I can't believe it as much as I love wine!  It is not going to be formal, just for fun.  I really don't know a lot about wine but would love to learn.  I've been searching the internet for info on what types of cheese to serve.  We will be sampling (yeah right ;) red wines only this time.  I stumbled upon the most informative cheese article on kraftfoods.com, which I should have gone to first because they always have great advice and recipes.  Save it for your next party that involves cheese!

PS They plug their Kraft brand here but feel free to use whatever brands you like.

Wine & Cheese Math

There are few pairings as tasty and delicious as wine and cheese. If you're thinking of hosting a wine and cheese tasting, make sure there's enough for everyone to try a little of each!

How much cheese do I need per person?

Cheese Tray Appetizers (based on an 8-oz. bar of cheese)

  • Allow 1/4 of a bar (2 oz.) per person
  • You will need to purchase three bars for 12 people

Wine and Cheese Party (based on an 8-oz. bar of cheese)

  • Supplement the cheese tray with grapes, PLANTERS Nuts, crusty bread your favorite NABISCO Crackers.

A Cheese Tray for 10: Guidelines

  • 8 oz. each KRAFT Colby, KRAFT Sharp Cheddar and KRAFT Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 10 oz. CRACKER BARREL Swiss Cheese
  • 8 oz. PHILADELPHIA Roasted Garlic Light Cream Cheese Spread
  • 8 oz. each J.L. KRAFT SPECIALTY GOURMET Spreadable Cheese Parmesan, Asiago & Romano with Garlic & Herbs and J.L. KRAFT SPECIALTY GOURMET Spreadable Cheese Sharp White Cheddar and Roasted Red Pepper
  • Variety of crackers such as RITZ Crackers, TRISCUIT Crackers, RED OVAL FARMS STONED WHEAT THINS Wheat Crackers and WHEAT THINS Snack Crackers
  • 1/2 lb. each red and green seedless grapes

Wait! We have even more great tips to share on preparing the perfect cheese tray.

Making a Cheese Tray

Cheese trays are a staple at any party - and creating the perfect platter is surprisingly simple. Start with a few of your favorite cheeses, then add a selection of NABISCO Crackers and cut-up fresh vegetables. Garnish with in-season fruits or PLANTERS Nuts.

Eight Steps to the Perfect Cheese Tray

  1. Choose three to five cheese types for an impressive display. Select different ages, flavors, textures and colors. For instance, try a soft goat cheese, with a medium Cheddar, and sharp blue.
  2. Remove soft, semi-firm, firm and hard cheeses from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.
  3. Arrange cheese on a large platter, wooden board or tray. Avoid placing strong, pungent cheese next to a mild cheese.
  4. Cut firm cheese into bite-size cubes, sticks, squares or triangles.
  5. Serve fresh and soft cheeses as whole blocks or rounds. Serve with a small sharp knife so guests can serve themselves.
  6. Garnish tray with grape clusters, apples, pears, dried fruits, PLANTERS Nuts or olives.
  7. Serve cheeses with NABISCO Crackers of different shapes and textures, such as SOCIABLES, TRISCUIT or RITZ Crackers. For a festive twist, try Holiday SOCIABLES and Holiday RITZ.
  8. Jazz up your cheese tray with a cheese appetizer, such as the Mini Cheese Balls.

Cheese Selection
Choose cheeses that vary in flavor, texture and visual appeal.

Types of Cheese
Choosing cheese is easy since most fall into these five basic categories:

Fresh
Characteristics: rindless; soft texture, often spreadable; mild flavor; white in color; often flavored with herbs and other seasonings; melts quickly at low temperatures.
Try: Cottage Cheese, Cream Cheese

Soft
Characteristics: ripened; soft edible rind; smooth texture; mild to medium, creamy taste; yellow color; melts quickly at medium temperatures.
Try: Brie, Camembert, Feta

Semi-soft
Characteristics: ripened or unripened; rindless; yellow or white in color; mild to sharp flavor; melts quickly at medium temperatures.
Try: Mozzarella, Havarti, Blue

Firm
Characteristics: ripened and aged; rindless; salty, nutty taste; smooth or crumbly in texture, ivory to yellow color; withstands higher temperatures; good for browning.
Try: Cheddar, Gouda, Emmental

Hard
Characteristics: ripened and aged; hard and dry rind; pale yellow color; hard and granular in texture; withstands higher temperatures; good for browning.
Try: Parmesan, Asiago, Romano

Cheese Flavors

For variety, choose from each of these categories:

Mild Cheeses Medium Cheeses Strong Cheeses
Colby
Mozzarella
Farmers
Monterey Jack
Marble
Mild Cheddar
Brie
Camembert
Edam
Gouda
Havarti
Muenster
Swiss
Medium Cheddar
Cold Pack
Blue
Sharp Cheddar
Extra Sharp Cheddar
Goat Cheese
Feta
Parmesan

How Much Cheese?
The amount of cheese to serve depends on the type of function you are hosting. The recommended serving of cheese is 2 oz. per person. If you are serving cheese for an appetizer party, supplement the cheese tray with a vegetable tray.

More Great Cheese Tips

Wine & KRAFT Cheese - A Perfect Pairing!

Wine and cheese are a natural combination for any entertaining occasion. In general the lighter the wine, the milder the cheese and the more full bodied the wine, the stronger the cheese. Below we've partnered some cheeses and wines to give you the best flavor.

Mild Cheeses Medium Cheeses Strong Cheeses
Cheeses Colby, Marbled, Farmer's or Monterey Jack Edam, Swiss, Gouda, Brie or Havarti Extra Sharp Cheddar or Blue
Wines Red Burgundy, Chablis, Zinfandel or Riesling wines. Red Burgundy, Pinot Noir, Gewurztraminer or Merlot. Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay or Beaujolais.

Making a cheese tray is a fantastic way to display your cheese selection. The key to preparing the perfect cheese tray is variety. Variety in cheese, texture, flavor and shapes.

Creative Cuts for Cheese Platters

Cheese trays are ideal for easy entertaining. Include a variety of colors, textures, light and regular cheeses in mild, medium and strong flavors. Knowing how to cut different shapes of cheese can add variety to trays, too.

  • Cheese bars can be cut into slices, triangles, cubes or small sticks.
  • Flat rectangular shapes can be sliced or cubed, cut into squares, triangles, rectangles or sticks.
  • For cutting ease, cut cheese soon after removing it from the refrigerator. Since cheese is best when served at room temperature, allow the cheese to set for 30 minutes before serving.
  • Each time the cheese is cut, always re-wrap cheese in fresh plastic wrap to help prevent mold growth and keep the cheese fresh longer.

Easy Entertaining with a Cheese Tray

Cheese trays are ideal for easy entertaining anytime. Include a variety of colors and textures. Try reduced fat and regular cheeses in mild, medium and strong flavors. Offer a variety of NABISCO Crackers and add some fresh fruit or colorful vegetables for extra appeal.

For best flavor, remove cheese from the refrigerator 30 min. prior to serving. Keep cheese wrapped in plastic wrap so it doesn't dry out, and unwrap it just before serving. If the cheese tray is made ahead, simply cover the cheese with plastic wrap until serving time


A little something I'm working on...

I am helping plan a couples wedding shower for one of my best friends this Spring.  I am in the brainstorming stages now.  They did not want the traditional "around the house" shower because they have most everything for their home already.  They are, however, saving for new furniture so I came up with the Money Tree theme.  I'm trying to elaborate on this and so far I've been thinking about a "Tree of Life" theme, comparing their marriage to the growing branches of a tree or something to that affect.  Or the song "Don't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me"... What do you think?  Her favorite color is lime green.  So I was thinking of using Granny Smith apples as part of the decorations.  I've found great inspiration on hostessblog.com (for some reason Typepad is not letting me upload the pics).  I love how they used the branches and leaves with the apples.  The only thing is I don't want it to look Fall-ish.  If you have any ideas I would love to hear them!

Here are the plates and napkins we are using from my store:

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They are a pretty casual and very modern couple so I didn't go with the usual bridal or marriage theme paper goods.  This will probably be in the evening and they love mojitos, which also incorporates the green, so I'm thinking that will be our signature cocktail.