Category Archives: Entertaining

Guide to the Perfect Dinner Party: A Warm Winter Gathering

Entertaining, Parties | | | 5 Replies

After the holidays are over, it’s easy to quickly lose your entertaining gusto. Whether you’re burnt out or just can’t think of a good excuse to get everyone together, post-holiday winter entertaining is hard to envision — that is, until we saw this gorgeous winter dinner party.

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Everything from the warm, cozy setting to the abundance of winter produce makes this dinner party feel perfectly suited for the season. Who needs an excuse when the party is as fun and gorgeous as this?

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Keep reading to take a look at this party from the talented team of Wanderlust Catering, Edyta Szyszlo PhotographyAlexandra Phelps EventsStudio Mondine and Cheree Berry Paper — plus their expert tips to throwing a classy dinner party with ease and style.

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Invitations:

Are paper invitations outdated? Hardly! We’ve loved seeing them come back with a force — Cheree Berry’s beautiful invitations are lovely enough for everything from a simple affair to a formal event.

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“An email/phone RSVP works great for a casual affair, such as a backyard BBQ, kid’s birthday, even ancillary wedding events,” says Cheree. “Today, we recommend an email RSVP vs. a phone RSVP as not to interrupt work or family time.”

“Know your audience too.  A more senior crowd may not handle an electronic invite as well as a printed one,” says Cheree.

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Hostess Tips:

“The perfect dinner party should have at least these three things: good food, tasty drinks, and great conversation,” says Simi Hansen of Wanderlust Catering. “There’s nothing worse than a party where guests are too shy to get to know each other.

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  “Interesting food and drinks are the easiest way to get the conversation started,” says Simi. “Soft lighting and an appropriate soundtrack can also help set the mood.”

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  “So many tasks can be done the day before your party. Food prep, table setting, decorating, choosing music, flowers,” Simi says. “If you can get these things done early, all you’ll need to do day-of is put ice on the bar, open wine, heat and assemble food, and get yourself ready. Doesn’t that sound totally stress-free?”

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Decorating Tips:

“Be creative when choosing your bar location. It can be a buffet, a cart, a table, your countertop. Just be sure to choose a surface that’s large enough to hold beverages, ice, glassware, and any accouterments,” says Simi. “If you serve beer in bottles, you can eliminate pint glasses, which is one less thing to set up and clean up. If you’re serving a signature cocktail, make a pitcher for the bar so guests can help themselves.”

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“Building a solid collection of basic items like runners, vases, napkins and service platters is a smart investment,” says Allie of Alexandra Phelps Studios. “Plus, it’s fun to challenge yourself to find new ways to utilize them again and again.”

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  “Just like produce, flowers are seasonal too,” says Amanda of Studio Mondine. “Save money by buying in season. For this table, we mixed the wintry amaryllis with local camellia and some early-blooming quince.”

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Pottery Barn items used: Napoli Dinnerware, Tava Chargers, Harrison Wine Pull, Harrison Multiple Bottle Cooler, Harrison Bottle Coaster, Blonde Wood Paddle Pedestals, Metallic Snack Bowls.

See more of our entertaining tips and recipes to help you throw the perfect dinner party here.

 

Friday 5: From Bedroom Makeovers to Bean and Basil Soup — Our Top Blog Posts from January

Decorating, Entertaining | | | Leave a comment

top posts from january

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s almost February! Can you believe it? Us either. That’s why we’re enjoying the last of January by looking back at our top posts for the month. From bedroom makeovers to basil soup, it’s clear that we all craved a fresh start this year — and our guides were here to help you along the way.

white bean soup

1.Easy, Clean, Healthy Recipe: Italian White Bean and Basil Soup.

This white bean tomato basil soup looks like just the right way to ease us off our holiday sugar rush — it’s filling, and takes minimal prep and cook time. Plus, we love how Brandi served it in our Vintage Wood Bowls with our Paros Chargers, Belgian Linen Hemstitch Napkins and Great White Dinnerware. It looks gorgeous!

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2. Bedroom Makeover: Luxurious Neutrals with Erin Gates

Although we’re big fans of embracing color in the new year, we love how Erin used a neutral palette to create a calm and soothing space that still has plenty going on. A luxurious mix of patterns and textures completely transformed this bedroom — taking it from shabby to chic.

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3. How to Organize Your Home Room by Room

Who doesn’t feel extra motivated to organize your home come January 1st? But as the month wears on, it’s easy to lose steam, and let all of the home organization to-do’s slip to the bottom of the list. This year, we’ve gathered our favorite organization tips and tricks to make sure you can organize your home room by room — and actually (yes, actually!) make it happen. To top it off, our experts share how to make sure your home is organized year round.

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4. January Designer Spotlight: Victoria Smith’s Favorite San Francisco Spots

Victoria Smith of SFGirlByBay’s passion for the city of San Francisco and her sophisticated style is part of why we chose her for our Designer Spotlight this month.

Victoria’s collected an incredible stockpile of must-do, must-see, must-taste, must-try activities after 20 years in the City by the Bay. Read on to learn about why she loves San Francisco — plus, get a glimpse inside her gorgeous Bay Area home.

View More: http://rusticwhitephotography.pass.us/waitingonmartha

5. How to Reorganize Your Linen Closet with Mandy of Waiting on Martha

Baskets are the fastest way to keep your linen closet tidy, towels folded and bedding from falling off the shelves. Do what Mandy did and mix and match — some woven, some wire. “I love that you can see what the wire baskets are holding,” says Mandy. “Like my favorite striped beach towels!”

Family-Friendly Football Game Day Recipes

Entertaining, Recipes | | | 3 Replies

Written and photographed exclusively for Inside & Out by Alison of Two of a Kind.

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Game Day Recipes

Touchdown! Are you watching football this Sunday with family or friends? Make meal prep a team effort! Everyone can help put together this super spread.

Here’s the game plan:

Cook a batch of chili (or pick up a few cans of your favorite brand at the store) – My go-to recipe is a quick two-bean turkey chili – it’s healthy, hearty and packed with flavor. There’s bacon in it, to boot!

Make the honey peanut butter popcorn – If you’ve never made stovetop popcorn, you’re missing out! It’s incredibly easy and fun. Because there’s hot syrup involved in this recipe, let the teens tackle it; the kids can look on (they’ll go wild when the kernels pop!). Warning: This snack is extremely addictive. I like to serve it alongside peanut butter pretzels and roasted peanuts for textural contrast.

Move on to beverage prep – Make the simple syrup for the lemonade and assemble the rest of the ingredients, but don’t mix the drinks just yet.

Prepare the cornmeal popovers – Ask the little ones to help you whip up the batter – they can measure, stir and whisk. When the popovers emerge from the oven, I promise there will be big grins as they set eyes on their workmanship.

Put everything on the table, make the lemonade and dig in!

PS: Don’t forget to pick up everything you’ll need to make your set up a winner! We love how Allison used our Galvanized Metal Tiered Stand, Bon Appetit Towels, Football Koozie, Mason Jar Mugs and Galvanized Metal Condiment and Tray Set.

Honey Peanut Butter Popcorn copy

Honey Peanut Butter Popcorn
Makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup popcorn kernels
  • sea salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter, crunchy or smooth
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a 3-quart heavy pan with a tight-fitting lid, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add 3 kernels to the pan, cover and continue to heat. When the kernels pop, add remaining kernels, cover and shake the pan. As the kernels start popping, shake the pan continuously until popping stops. Remove from heat and pour the popcorn in a roasting pan to cool. Remove unpopped kernels and lightly salt the popcorn to taste.
  2. In a small sauce pan, combine the sugar and honey. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook the mixture for 3 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and add the peanut butter; stir with a silicone spatula until smooth. Then stir in the cinnamon and vanilla extract. Cook the mixture over medium heat for 1 minute.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately pour the mixture over the cooled popcorn. Stir with a silicone spatula until the popcorn is coated evenly.
  5. Spread the popcorn in a single layer in the roasting pan. Gently break up any large clumps with your hands. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

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Sparkling (and Spiked) Mint Lemonade
Makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup simple syrup (see notes)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cups cold water
  • ice
  • 2 cups sparkling water
  • lemon wheels and frozen raspberries, for garnish
  • Don Julio Tequila Blanco (for adults, optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a pitcher, combine the mint leaves and simple syrup. Using a wooden spoon, gently muddle the mint leaves, being careful not to tear them.
  2. Stir in the lemon juice and cold water.
  3. Add ice and the sparkling water.
  4. Garnish each serving with a lemon wheel, frozen raspberries and additional mint leaves.
  5. For spiked lemonade, add 1 ounce tequila to each serving.

Spiked Mint Lemonade copy

NOTES
To make simple syrup, combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small sauce pan. Cook over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves completely. Remove from heat and let cool completely before using.

Chili-Filled Cornmeal Popover copy

Chili-Filled Cornmeal Popovers
Makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS

Popovers:

  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup milk, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Topping:

  • (or 6 cups canned chili)
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • diced avocado
  • green onions, thinly sliced
  • sour cream

Cornmeal Popovers copy

INSTRUCTIONS

Prepare the popovers:

  1. Place a nonstick 6-cup popover pan on the bottom rack of your oven and preheat to 450 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Then whisk in butter.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal and salt. Then whisk in the egg mixture until smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour the mixture into a large glass measuring cup; this allows you to quickly and easily distribute the batter among the popover pan wells.
  4. Once oven is preheated, carefully remove popover pan from oven and coat wells with nonstick spray. Moving quickly, divide the batter evenly among the wells and place pan back in oven.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes. Then reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Do not open the oven door while popovers are baking.
  6. Remove pan from oven and turn out popovers onto a wire rack. Serve immediately. Or, if not serving right away, poke a small hole in the side of each popover with a toothpick or paring knife to let the steam escape.

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Assemble the chili-filled popovers:

  1. Split popovers and fill with chili.
  2. Top with cheese, avocado, green onions and sour cream.

And that’s it! Just a little planning and a lot of fun, easy cooking makes this a perfect family-friendly spread that we’d love to snack on during game time.

 

5 Ridiculously Delicious Game Day Recipes

Entertaining, Recipes | | | 1 Reply

What’s your favorite part of football season? To us, it’s all about the food. Sure, we love rooting on our teams — but the day is made so much better with a plate of something tasty, too.

Since the end of football season is just around the corner, we’re on the hunt for some extra-delicious game day recipes. Take a look at 5 of our favorite snack recipes, below, and stay tuned for even more next week!

Caprese-Pull-Apart-Bread

Kick off game day with something savory to munch on, like Two of a Kind’s Caprese Pull Apart Bread (PS: Stay tuned for a special game day spread from Two of a Kind on Inside & Out next week!)

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Or maybe try your hand at these easy baked onion rings as a homage to stadium food!

pizza cauliflower

Spend halftime in foodie heaven thanks to this pizza with a healthy twist.

nachos

Quinoa makes anything healthy, right? We’ll just tell ourselves that while chowing down on these Loaded Greek Goddess Chickpea and Quinoa Pita Chip Nachos.

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Finally, celebrate or mourn the final score with something sweet — like these Mini Brownie Pies from Sugar & Cloth.

Our 5 Favorite Detox Recipes for a Healthy New Year

Entertaining, Recipes | | | 2 Replies

Hello, Monday! It’s the second week of 2015 — are you still sticking to your New Year’s Resolutions? We’ve rounded up 5 of our favorite delicious detox recipes to help you stick to your goal of healthy eating this year. From green smoothies (yum) to salads to soups, this menu is perfect for a veggie-packed weekly menu.

Detox Recipes for the New Year

These 8 Green Smoothies from The Glitter Guide sound like a delicious way to start easing into eating more greens.

Camille Styles’ Detox Green Smoothie looks pretty amazing, too.

Or, start off the day right with Oh She Glows’ Oatmeal Power Bowl! It only takes 5 minutes (yup) to prep.

Tales of a Kitchen’s Massaged Kale, and Millet Salad might just make us forget about that grilled cheese we wanted for dinner (emphasis on might).

We’re in love with the comforting flavors of Vegan 8’s easy, clean, healthy recipe: Hearty Italian White Bean and Basil Soup.

What are your favorite recipes for healthy eating? 

PS: See more of our favorite recipes here and here.

Easy, Clean, Healthy Recipe: Hearty Italian White Bean and Basil Soup

Entertaining, Recipes | | | 5 Replies

Be honest — you’re feeling the effects of all those holiday food comas right now, aren’t you? We sure are — which is why clean and healthy eating sits at the top of our New Year’s resolution list for 2015.

But cooking and eating healthy isn’t always as easy as we’d like — or so we thought, until we came across the incredibly simple 8-ingredient recipes by Brandi Doming at The Vegan 8.

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Each recipe uses only 8 ingredients (with the exception of water and salt) that can be found in any grocery store. They’re easy, hearty, and delicious. This white bean tomato basil soup looks like just the right way to ease us off our holiday sugar rush — it’s filling, and takes minimal prep and cook time. Plus, we love how Brandi served it in our Vintage Wood Bowls with our Paros Chargers, Belgian Linen Hemstitch Napkins and Great White Dinnerware. It looks gorgeous!

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Hearty Italian White Bean and Basil Soup
4-5 servings

“This soup is full of Italian herbs and fresh basil and is super hearty thanks to protein-rich white beans and filling brown rice,” Brandi says. “This soup is extremely healthy and low-fat, yet it is so filling thanks to the protein and carb content. No need to sacrifice flavor to eat healthy. This will have your house smelling absolutely amazing too!”

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Ingredients

Rice:
1 cup low sodium vegetable broth (240 mL)
1/2 cup dry long grain brown rice (72 g)
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

Soup:
6 cups low sodium vegetable broth (1440 mL)
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (160 g, you will need 1 cup)
4 large garlic cloves, minced (you will need a heaping tablespoon)
2 Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
salt and pepper (I added 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper)
2 15 oz cans white beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil

Note: Brandi used an Italian spice blend that you can find at any grocery store — a combo of basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, savory, fennel, sage and marjoram. Some versions have red pepper, so  would avoid those as it could make the soup really spicy.

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Instructions:
In a medium pot, prepare the rice first by bringing 1 cup broth to a boil and then add the rice, salt and stir and immediately turn to the lowest heat setting and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes or until all the broth is evaporated. Return the lid and let it sit covered 10 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, chop your vegetables. Add the 6 cups broth to a large pot with only the onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and chili powder. Stir well and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn down to medium-high and cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Now add the tomatoes, cover and cook on medium-low for another 10 minutes.

Lastly, add the drained beans, fresh basil and cooked rice. Stir well and bring back to a boil. Once boiling, let it cook on high for 5-10 more mins until heated through. Taste and add any additional spices if necessary, I didn’t add anymore. Serve immediately and garnish with more fresh basil, if desired.

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Get a recipe print out for this yummy white bean and tomato soup plus more of Brandi’s delicious cooking tips on her blog, The Vegan 8.

Happy New Year!

Entertaining, Holiday | | | Leave a comment

Happy New Year! Can you believe it’s already 2015? 2014 flew by — it was a lot of fun, but we’re already looking forward to everything that 2015 has in store for us. 

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We love spending the first day of the new year looking back — so today, we’re sharing our top viewed posts from the past year. From glittery champagne bottles to gallery wall how-tos — we loved sharing all of our dreams, DIYs and design tips with you this year!

Top New Year's Posts from Pottery Barn

1. DIY Glitter Champagne Bottles for Awards Night
2. 6 Ways to Set Up a Gallery Wall
3. Behind the Design: Our Cambria Collection
4. 5 Dream Thanksgiving Table Decorating Tips from Camp Makery
5. Hello, Color! Sherwin-Williams’ Top Paint Picks for Fall
6. Say Hello to Our Performance Fabric Collection
7. Love Where You Live: Q&A with Kate Riley of Centsational Girl
8. Bring Spring Into Your Home with These Flower Arranging Tips
9. Guest Post: Picking a Color Palette For Your Home
10. 10 Decorating and Design Ideas from Pottery Barn’s Fall Catalog