Archive | autumn LOVE

egg casserole {holiday hospitality 101}

holiday hospitality 101

The season of brunch is upon us. I love these simple egg dishes because they can be made the night before {Christmas Eve I usually make one} and simple popped in the oven in the morning. Give your self plenty of time for cooking these as sometimes the eggs just don’t want to cook {or “set-up”} in the middle. This can also be made at the beginning of a busy week and warmed up for a few days {if there are any leftovers…wink,wink}.

Egg Casserole

::Ingredients::

8 slices bread, crusts removed (optional) cubed or torn into bite size pieces (you can butter the bread first if you like)

½ chopped onion

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (or whatever you have on hand such as Colby or Monterey Jack)

8-10 large eggs

2 cups milk

::Directions::

1. Mix bread, onion & cheese. Add salt & pepper to taste.

2. Put mixture in 9×13 pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray or buttered lightly.

3. Add additional ingredients such as meat, veggies, etc.{see optional addition notes}

4. Whisk eggs and milk and pour over mixture.

5. Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 45-50 minutes until set

*You can do steps 1-4 at night and refrigerate over night. Simply cook in the morning allowing a few extra minutes in case the eggs do not “set-up” well. Also, if the edges or top begin to brown but the eggs are not completely cooked {“set-up”} cover with foil.

Optional Egg Casserole Additions:

Country Breakfast– cubed ham, cooked sausage {crumbled} or bacon

Mexican– cooked chorizo sausage, small can of chopped green chilies

Potato– substitute 1  16oz. package of frozen has browns for the bread; breakfast meat such as bacon or cooked sausage

Stuffed French Toast– basic egg casserole recipe omitting the onions and cheese and using cinnamon bread instead plus 8oz. cream cheese, cubed and 1 large apple.

Gluten-Free– sub out gluten-free bread instead of the regular bread {may need some extra liquid if it get’s too dry}

Cheesy Casserole– basic egg recipe with another ½ cup of cheese added to the top (be sure to add foil-removing half way through cooking time)

Veggie Fun– cooked veggies such as butternut squash or cooked bell peppers can also be added or swapped in {great addition to the Country Breakfast version above}

Get creative…there are no limits to how you can make this base recipe!

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FALL dessert {holiday hospitality 101}

holiday hospitality 101I hope everyone had a lovely THANKSGIVING holiday! There is so much to be grateful for in life! I hope you felt a taste of that and enjoyed the company of loved ones.

fall dessertI have talked about making delicious coffee & ice cream floats before HERE. I love this simple and rich sweet treat. It only requires 3 ingredients, a cute mug & a spoon. For this Fall version I simply used Pumpkin ice cream {it was rich and had a nice spice to it}. Start with a small scoop of the ice cream in a mug. Add strongly brewed coffee over the top of the ice cream {or try different combinations such as vanilla ice cream and hot chocolate for the kids}. Garnish with dark chocolate covered espresso beans {or chocolate shavings or caramel} and serve with a spoon. See pictures below and get creative with your favorite ingredients! The possibilities are endless!

{P.S. This is a great dessert option if you don’t like to bake {like me} or made a more complicated meal and need something simple to throw together for sweets. Also, this can be really easy to bring to a small gathering. Just be sure to brew the coffee at home and bring in a carafe that will keep it hot or ask your hostess if you can brew the coffee there. And make sure they have room in their freezer! Enjoy!}

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kid table ideas & turkey hand ART {holiday hospitality 101}

holiday hospitality 101Decorating for the kids is FUN. My little Paigey loves to help me decorate these days. Here are a few ideas of how to make your Thanksgiving “kid table” or place settings special. As you will see some of these ideas are unconventional. You don’t always have to use paper plates or traditional colors. We love to get out fancy plates and glasses to make it more special. I have lots of little treasures from my Grandma Lil {who loved to entertain} and I figure that even if they get broken at least we used them {and these special trinkets won’t just be good for gathering dust}. Also, you can have crafts/activities available to do while the kids wait for dinner or for dessert {why are kids so reluctant to eat sometimes and often get done eating so quickly}. Just keep in mind that age and skill levels of the kids. Have fun with it. The more comfortable you are…the more comfortable your guest will feel. So assure them that if the kids break something or spill something…that’s okay!

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turkey hand art

If you want to make the turkey hand ART like the ones we did above you can set out some simple craft items for the kids and have them go to town while dinner is being made. Or make them before and add names to each to use as silly place cards. Either way…enjoy!

::what you will need::

foam or card-stock sheets

pencil {for tracing} & scissors

glue or mod-podge

feathers or leaves

googly eyes, sequins, beaks & whatever else you want to decorate the turkey face/body

::instructions::

1. Simply trace your kids hands {or anyone who wants to join in on the fun} with a pencil and then cut out hand shapes.

2. Glue feathers {or leaves for feathers} to back of the hands and allow to dry.

3. Glue on googly eyes, beak, sequins and anything else you would like to make your turkey’s special. Add a magnet, or tack up on a board or use as place cards! Enjoy!

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the HEART of hospitality {holiday hospitality 101}

holiday hospitality 101For me the HEART of hospitality is to simply welcome people into our life in a casual & cozy way. We love to have friends over and we love to make people feel at home. If someone helps themselves to a cup of water and gets right in there in the kitchen with me I am thrilled. Even if the floor is not as clean as I would like it to be or the sink is full of dishes { and it usually is} who really cares. Perfection is not my thing. The point of being hospitable is to make people feel welcome, to have fun, laugh, share old memories & make new memories…that is our goal. Our hope is that when people walk through our door for a party or family dinner they know that if something spills or we forgot the bread and it burns or we run out of food…all will be forgiven. I am a girl and I want my home to look great, my decor to be special and my food to comfort people while tasting delicious…but at the end of the night I know that the most important thing is for my friends to leave with their hearts encouraged & full {not just their bellies}. That is the HEART of hospitality for us. With that in mind here are some tips on how we decorate & plan our parties. Hope they inspire you to welcome friends into your home this holiday season {even if things around your home are not perfect}.

hospitality

 ::a few decorating tips::

USE WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE:

There are often things already around your house or in your backyard that can work. Use ornaments, your favorite nativity scene, candles, kids crafts & even food {like fruit, cranberries or popcorn kernels} for centerpieces & table settings. Branches, evergreens, acorns, fall leaves, pine cones and flowers from your backyard work great too. Scatter on the table or arrange in a vase. Sometimes the Christmas tree lots will give their scrap branches away for free. Think outside the box. Wrapping paper is one of my all-time favorite table runners. Find something that matches your decor and can be easily discarded at the end of the party. My favorite things is a large roll of craft paper {it can be found at the Dollar Tree most of the year}. This works great on a buffet as well {use sharpies to write on the paper & point to what each dish has}. It’s cute and practical.

KEEP IT SIMPLE:

If you are fancy and like using china dishes and sleek stemware than do it. If you are not into fancy and would prefer paper plates~ do it. Make it fit for your season of life and your style. And consider your guests {if you are having a kid party you can get out your finest china and grandma’s tea-pot if you don’t mind them getting broken…or just use plastic and call it good}. There is no right or wrong way to do it. If you are at ease about the decorations and setting you will make your guests feel more at ease. Buffets, Brunches and Appetizer Parties tend to be more simple. It’s difficult to do fancy food and fancy decorations so pick one and do it well. If you want fancy decorations consider a menu that can be mostly made ahead or cater it. Potlucks can make things more simple as well. To make the day-of easier, set out and set up as many serving dishes & decorations the day or night before as is possible. If you are having a more elaborate party you need to ask for help {there are only so many things you can do on your own}. Also, don’t spend a ton of money. Borrow from friends {between all the ladies in my life there are a lot of nice entertaining dishes, coffee makers, mason jars, drink containers, tables, chairs, coolers and decorations…the list goes on}.

DETAILS GO A LONG WAY:

Small details can make all the difference {even while keeping things simple}. A nice scented candle, music that fits the setting, place cards, cloth napkins, framed photos or printed quotes celebrating the occasion are a few examples. Pandora has great “radio” stations for any occasion {Christmas Carols, Disney Music for a kids party, Classical Music for an intimate dinner}. Pinterest and many blogs have free printables of cool quotes that are both beautiful and fitting for every occasion. Place-cards are a breeze to make for place settings & to mark food.

A few examples of how I have decorated following these rules click on the partyTIME drop down above or check out some ideas HERE, HERE & HERE.

Oh and one more HERE.

::a few entertaining tips from my mom::

::plan ahead::

-Make a lot of LISTS

-Prep menu & shopping lists a few days before

-Make sure you have the right serving dishes, napkins, drinks, silverware, coffee and pantry staples a few days before your event {shop for or borrow what you need}

-Shop for food & decor

-Decorate, arrange flowers, clean house and set out platters and serving items the day/night before event

-Set table or set up the buffet the day/night before

-Check your lists again

-Purchase ice & any other last-minute items the day of the event

 ::a simple party idea::

One simple way to throw a New Years Eve Party {my mom has done this a few times} is to have each guest bring a dessert or appetizer. You can just give them an idea of what to bring {or ask them to sign up via an Evite or email} so the responsibilities are spread out and you don’t get too many of the same items {for example you can specify savory appetizers or dessert or a salad/veggie tray}. This makes planning and clean-up so simple. All you have to prepare is your home, some drinks and snacks. Providing games/activities is an added bonus. If it’s a New Years party be sure to remember some party hats & noisemakers and remember that decorating is simple because your Christmas decor is already up.These ideas can obviously be used for any holiday party or throughout the year {think evening baby showers or adult birthday parties}.

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What is the HEART of hospitality for you and your family? How do you like to entertain? What are some of your best tips? Share your ideas on Instagram with me. Just add the hash-tag #holidayhospitality and see what others are up to as well.

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woodland decor {holiday hospitality 101}

holiday hospitality 101I am in love with the woodland trend going on these days. Foxes, owls, mushrooms, ferns & feathers, sparkling pumpkins, snow-capped elements and winter woodland trees everywhere you turn. I love it for fall or winter. I added mercury glass and burlap to my look {along with a few logs and birch elements}. I took this theme and created a beautiful woodland table for a fall holiday or winter party. I have also decorated the top of my piano {my make-shift mantle} with these elements this year. Simply switch the pumpkins & gourds with green Christmas trees {painted with sparkling “snow”} as the season’s change. I think the white trees work for both seasons. Also, any ferns, acorns & forest branches make great floral arrangements. And don’t forget moss {this can be purchased at any craft store}. I even used sage from my herb garden. A few peacock or quail feather’s finish of the look beautifully.

Here I showed the ladies at our MOPS meeting how to do several different place settings for fall or winter with this woodland theme. My intention was not to attempt an entire table with different place settings, but to show several ideas. It can be fun to mix and match but I think most of these would look great repeated at each place.

woodland decor

DSC_0025 DSC_0021 DSC_0056 DSC_0053::some simple place setting ideas::

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Are you into the woodland theme too? How do you like to do your place settings? Do you have a creative way to make place cards? Share your ideas on Instagram with me. Just add the hash-tag #holidayhospitality and see what others are up to as well.

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To make your own sparkly snow-capped elements {like my pumpkins, mushrooms & trees} stay tuned for a post in a few days. {P.S. Sorry for the poor quality pictures…I hope you get the idea if nothing else}

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