Hello, spring! After two weeks of unseasonably freezing temps, it’s beginning to warm up again. The weather has us in the mood to entertain, so we’re sharing our spring party essentials today. Because who’s not in the mood to throw a little party at home?
Ice down beer and wine in a blue and white planter. Mine is on loan (permanently? eek) from my mother-in-law, but this one is super similar.
Display glassware and cocktail napkins (these and these from H&M are adorable and stupid cheap) on a pewter tray. I received this one as a wedding gift almost twelve years ago – it’s still available on Wayfair! – and we also like this simple one. A reptile tray would add sophisticated texture to a lacquered table, and this cute little pineapple tray is perfect for a cheeseball and crackers.
Assorted crackers (we recommend Carr’s Water Crackers)
What You Do:
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Peel or slice off the top rind of the brie and scrape out a small amount of cheese to form a shallow hollow in the center. Place the cheese in a small baking dish like a pie pan. (If you plan on transferring the cheese to a serving dish after it’s baked, line the pie pan with a square of parchment paper.)
Mix the cranberry sauce, brown sugar, vanilla, zest, and nutmeg. Top the brie with this cranberry mixture and sprinkle the hazelnuts over it.
Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and the cheese is gooey. This is a delicate process, and baking time can vary. The goal is to take the cheese out after it has softened, but just before it collapses into a heap.
If desired, lift the parchment paper and use a spatula to carefully slide the cheese onto a prettier serving dish. Garnish with a rosemary sprig and serve immediately with assorted crackers.
Whew, we made it through another week! J’s been jetting around the South for work and L’s been getting used to having an infant in the house again…so we’re feeling especially grateful for the next 48-ish hours. Here’s hoping your weekend will be a mix of fancy cheese, champagne and DIY design!
5 // Perfect Sunday Afternoon Project // After a weekend of football (and possibly struggling to re-wire that Sunburst Light Fixture), indulge your creative side and re-style your coffee table. Use this handy tutorial from Domino as a guide. As if we needed another excuse to purchase pink peonies! Happy Friday, yall.
J: Two of my greatest friends in the world are expecting precious baby boys this year and I could not be more excited! We celebrated L and Baby Ed a few weeks ago in Statesboro and this past weekend surprised my BFF Annie with a shower for Baby Parker while she was in Atlanta visiting from Chicago. The details:
J and three sweet friends threw the most amazing baby shower for Baby Ed and me at Forest Heights Country Club in Statesboro. You may have seen a few pics on Instagram. These are a few more of our favorites! We’ll start from the beginning…
I was so glad my mom was able to make the trip. We all missed my mother-in-law, who was (smartly) cruising in cooler temps.
My favorite surprise of the day was…a FLOWER CROWN! I have never been so excited (or so glad that I didn’t do my hair in a top-knot). I had a really hard time taking it off at the end of the day brunch.
Everyone who knows me knows I live for brunch. I was so happy to see quiche and mini-pancakes on the menu!
Jennifer brought cupcakes from the Atlanta outpost of Georgetown Cupcake. I am obsessed with peanut butter, so she set aside one of those just for me. #truefriend The “E” flags are from Etsy.
I had the cutest little helpers opening gifts: Joe and his BBFL Leo.
Kate arranged these simple and cute rock candy favors. Joe was fascinated with these…and then he really flipped when he realized it was actual CANDY.
Each hostess received a small succulent in mercury glass from Colonial House.
Post-shower, Joe and I hung out in Ed’s new nursery. He told me “Mom, that was a GREAT PARTY.”…and I totally agree. I was overwhelmed at how beautiful everything was, and how these four friends nailed all of my favorite things. Baby Ed and I are so lucky to have four such incredible women in our lives.
L made this delicious Spinach and Cheese Strata for Mother’s Day brunch – it was a hit! Yall know we love anything we can make ahead…means more time to work on our tablescape. Add a fresh fruit salad (L chose Watermelon Feta Salad) and muffins, and you’ve got an easy, elegant brunch. We adapted this from an Annie’s Eats post; here’s our version (with notes).
Make-Ahead Spinach and Cheese Strata
What You Need:
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1½ cups onion, finely chopped (basically, one large yellow onion)
2 (10 oz.) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained (we used bagged, organic frozen spinach)
1 tsp. salt, divided
½ tsp. pepper, divided
Dash ground nutmeg (the original recipe called for freshly grated…but ground works just fine)
8 cups cubed French or Italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (basically one large loaf)
6 oz. coarsely grated Swiss or Gruyere cheese (about 2 cups)
2 oz. finely grated Parmesan (about 2/3 cup)
9 large eggs
2¾ cup milk (we used Horizon Organic 1% low-fat milk)
What You Do:
Melt the butter in a medium skillet over low heat. Add the onions to the pan and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add ½ teaspoon of the salt, ¼ teaspoon of the pepper, and the nutmeg, and continue to cook for 1 minute more. Stir in the spinach, remove from the heat and set aside.
Liberally coat the inside of a 2½-3 quart baking dish with cooking spray. Layer the bottom of the dish with one third of the bread cubes. Top with one third of the spinach mixture and one third of each of the cheeses. Repeat these layers twice more with the bread, spinach and cheese. It’s important to grate your cheeses ahead of time, so that you can distribute them evenly in your layers.
In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, milk, the remaining ½ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper. Whisk together until blended. Pour the mixture evenly over the bread and spinach layered in the baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 8 hours or up to 1 day.
Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Bake uncovered until puffed, golden brown and cooked through, 45-55 minutes. Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.
**This is our version of a well-loved, well-published recipe. Annie’s Eats adapted this from Smitten Kitchen. Originally appeared in Gourmet, February 2003.
These Hawaiian Ham and Swiss Sliders are THE BEST SANDWICHES YOU WILL EVER EAT, swear. L made these for her fifth annual egg hunt on Saturday, and all 96 were snapped up by party-goers (kids included!). Whip some up for a Masters viewing party this weekend and add a round of Azalea Cocktails. You’re good to go.
Hawaiian Ham & Swiss Sliders (makes 24 sandwiches, plan on 2-3 per person)
What You Need:
24 slices deli honey ham (L used Sara Lee Maple Ham)
6 slices swiss cheese, cut into quarters
1/3 cup mayonnaise (L used Kraft mayo)
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard (L used French’s Dijon)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
2 packages (12 count)King’s Hawaiian Original or Honey Wheat Hawaiian Sweet Dinner Rolls
What You Do:
Split rolls in half and spread mayo onto 1 side of the rolls. Place a slice or two of ham and a (quarter) slice of swiss cheese in roll. Replace the top of the rolls and bunch them closely together into a baking dish.
In a medium bowl, whisk together poppy seeds, dijon mustard, melted butter, onion powder and worcestershire sauce.
Pour sauce over the rolls, just covering the tops. Cover with foil and let sit for 10 minutes.
Bake covered at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Uncover and cook for additional 2 minutes until tops are slightly browned and crisp. Serve warm.
These sandwiches are also great at room temperature – don’t stress about serving them right out of the oven. You can assemble the sandwiches the night before baking – just cover TIGHTLY with plastic wrap to prevent them drying out. When you’re ready, pour on the sauce and pop them in the oven!
YAY for the weekend. It’s actually sunny today – we’re crossing our fingers this lasts for a few days. Here’s what we’re loving right now!
1. Nude Lip. After a winter of bright red lips, we’re really feeling this pared down nude lip. Now, if we can just get a tan…
2. Homemade Pizza. L and Joe made this delicious Spinach Artichoke Pizza (sans artichokes – forgot them at the store!) this week, and it’s probably making a reappearance on Sunday night. It’s super easy, and we love the combination of flavors. Even Baby Joe gobbled it up.
3. Mimosa caddy. Making mimosa caddies is tops on our spring to-do list because we love champagne, we love pink, and we love DIY. And just because.
4.ASOS Floral Midi Skirt. J’s wearing this adorable floral midi to brunch in NYC during her bach party. Stay tuned for details!
5. Good read. We love this article about finding your style when you hit 30.
J and L reunite at Mount Vintage this weekend for J’s bridal shower – hope you guys get to spend the weekend with good friends, too!