Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sweets & Champagne (the abbreviated version!)

Last Wednesday I hosted an Arbonne party for a friend who just became a rep. She was eager to get started so when she contacted me, we scheduled the event for about two weeks before the date. Normally, this wouldn't be a problem for me. But it just so happens that July was one of the wackiest months I've had at work in a long time. So I really had to do everything at the last minute!
I did leave work a little early that day (yes, with permission) so I could get things ready. I had already decided to do desserts because we were kicking things of at 7:00 pm. What goes well with sweets? Champagne, naturally!
With the limited time I had, I knew that most things would have to be from the store and not from my own two hands. I hit the jackpot with some specials one of the local grocery store chains was having!

My dessert table consisted of cherry and chocolate donut holes (10 cents each!!), some chocolate/cheesecake treats that were in the bakery case and a pudding/pound cake/strawberry/Cool whip dessert I made up. For as easy as it was the pudding and pound cake dessert looked impressive. I'll add the super-simple directions at the end. But first, I want to let you know why this easy menu impressed my guests.

It's all about the basics. Basic serveware, that is! Nice trays and bowls make an enormous difference in the presentation of food - no matter how easy the food was to make. If you enjoy entertaining, I believe serveware is essential to have in your party planning pantry. A couple platters and bowls will go a long way. Throw in a cake platter and a tiered buffet server and you'll add some nice dimension to your table as well. If you're just starting your collection, go with white and/or glass (clear). I like to use a mix of both. Later on, you can always purchase and add in pieces with a little more flair. Here are some great places to get started without breaking the bank:

Bed Bath & Beyond
CB2 (these are so on my wish list!)

Now onto that A-mazing dessert of mine! Here's what I used:
Bakery fresh pound cake
Instant chocolate pudding mix (and the skim milk you would use to make it)
Cool whip

First, I made the pudding according to those handy directions on the package. I divided the finished product between five dessert cups and put those in the refrigerator to let the pudding set.
While waiting for the pudding to be ready, I sliced the pound cake into about 3/4 inch slices.
Then, I washed and sliced up most of the strawberries. I held a few back for garnish.
Out came the chilled and set pudding cups!
I put two slices of the pound cake in each cup, threw in some strawberries and topped with Cool Whip. I made a small cut in the remaining full strawberries and added one to the rim of each cup (you'll see in the picture that I have a little bit to learn about the proper placement of garnishing cuts!).

The compliments I received for the dessert were completely disproportionate for the amount of work it took me. I hope you get the same results!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

For what it's worth - I feel bad for not writing anything for so long. Once again, the month has been crazy and I let myself get overwhelmed. Everyday I thought, "I'm too busy today. I'll blog tomorrow." Fiddle-dee-dee! Then I realized, I will probably never have "time" to blog unless I just make it a part of my day. So let's see what I can do!
In addition to not blogging, I also ignored my Google Reader for at least two weeks, accumulating approximately 976 posts to read. Fun! One thing I came across that I wanted to share was this deliciously girly wedding that I came across on Something Borrowed, Something Fabu.

Side note before we get started: I promise I won't feature too many weddings, but when I come across things that could provide inspiration and easily translate to other celebrations, I probably won't be able to help myself.

Holy Flowers! I don't even know if this was used for anything or was just part of the decor. Fantastic!

Shrimp cocktail is such an easy appetizer but add a sculpted, LIGHTED ice tray and it becomes a great feature. If you're willing to experiment, this is probably an easy addition to your next appetizer table. Grab a few containers or trays, fill with water and freeze (a la ice luminaries) and throw in some of these bad boys

Wow, just wow. No tips here except to find a fabulous cakestress and channel your birthday cake dreams from when you were a little girl. (If any friends are out there listening, THIS is what I want for my 30th birthday.) Apparently, the bride was inspired by Marie Antoinette and I think she translated her vision perfectly with this cake.

How sweet is this? Dessert buffets are everywhere and while they are a great addition to a celebration, a cotton candy treat is a refreshing change of pace. It would certainly set a fun, lighthearted mood for your guests. 

Loveliness all around!