Party Time: Fall Harvest

Fall, fall, fall… after what felt like a bit of a slow start, we’re finally full swing into the most wonderful season of the year. We’ve been apple picking, we’ve visited the pumpkin patch, we’ve picked out Halloween costumes, and now it’s time to get outside with our friends to celebrate the bounty that fall has to offer. There’s no need to buy expensive party decorations because mother nature has provided more than enough for you to get the party started. So get out there and enjoy the great outdoors because you know that polar vortex will be here before you know it!

A Feteful Life: Fall Harvest

  1. A grouping of pumpkins always look festive. Simply write a welcome message on one of the larger ones and you will instantly make your guests feel welcome.
  2. This simple yet stunning garland is made out of real leaves! I love it!
  3. Apples and floating candles make a beautiful centerpiece and harken back to the old bobbing for apples game.
  4. Some bundles of hay with some simple fall colored garland makes a fantastic photo backdrop wall.
  5. A punch is one of the easiest ways to serve a big crowd. And, this beautiful apple harvest punch looks amazing!
  6. Looking to unload some of those apples you picked at the orchard? Set up a DIY caramel apple bar and let your guests pick their own toppings.
  7. Doesn’t this stuffed pumpkin look amazing?! Not only does it look impressive, it is filled with everything that is delicious.
  8. Send you guests home with something delicious, like these delicious pumpkin pie parfaits.

 

 

Dia de los Muertos Party Inspiration

I mentioned way, way back in our first Fete Favorites my love of Dia de los Muertos. I still haven’t convinced anyone to have an actual party celebrating the holiday, which I really cannot understand. It’s much more upbeat, colorful, and well styled than Halloween. So, I’m obviously going to have to throw myself my own party on November 1st. Here’s what’s topping my list of inspiration.

A Feteful Life: Dia de los Muertos

1. These gorgeous wedding invitations are obviously slightly more upscale than I need for my own party, but I love the idea of combining the bold colors with geometric prints.

2. I love the idea of a large communal table for dinner and that table runner is ahhmaazing.

3. Sugar skulls + edible confetti = party happiness.

4. Mini tissue paper flowers for striped straws!? That’s a new one (to me) and a must make.

5. Pan de Muerto is a traditional Day of the Dead pastry and looks delicious.

6. Obviously our Almond Milk Horchata Cocktail will be in circulation (and probably our Blood Orange Tequila + Lime Spritzers, too).

7. Decorated candles look like a simple enough DIY to help keep things festive.

8. Papel picado!

9. I’ve really been waiting for a good time to try a honeycombed wall and this seems like the perfect opportunity.

Cocktail Hour: Pumpkin Shandy

A Feteful Life: Cocktail Hour - Pumpkin ShandyThis cocktail – it’s fall in a glass and it’s wonderful! I did a fairly classic version of the shandy this summer but this one might be my favorite variation. I’m a huge fan of pumpkin but generally not in the drink form with the exception of pumpkin beer. It’s not overly pumpkiny but it has a nice addition of spices that I love. Combining it with some lemon juice and sparkling apple cider just enhanced everything I love about it. Happy Fall!

Pumpkin Shandy (adapted from Brit+Co)

Ingredients

1 bottle of pumpkin beer
Sparkling apple cider
cinnamon stick
half a lemon juiced
slice of lemon for garnish

Directions

Add a cinnamon stick to your glass (I used a pint glass but you could any glass that holds a beer). Pour between 1/2 and 3/4 of your beer into the glass, add the juice of half a lemon, and top off with the sparkling cider (be careful because the cider can easily foam over the glass). Garnish with a lemon slice and enjoy! A Feteful Life: Cocktail Hour - Pumpkin Shandy

 

 

 

Butternut Squash Baked Risotto

A Feteful Life: Butternut Squash Baked RisottoHappy World Vegetarian Day! While I may not be a vegetarian, every year I get closer and closer to taking the plunge. I’ve cut out pork, almost all red-meat and I still eat chicken and fish once or twice a week but I almost always prefer vegetarian meals.

I find it easier in the summer when there’s an abundance of fresh produce and I crave lighter meals. As the cooler weather rolls in during the start of fall, I start craving heartier dishes that often involve meat. But, recently I stumbled upon this baked risotto from Martha Stewart and it perfectly encapsulated my craving for a hearty meal with my desire to eat a more plant based diet.

It is delicious, elegant and so very simple. Make it for a weeknight meal or for a dinner party. It is excellent either way!

A Feteful Life: Butternut Squash Baked Risotto

A Feteful Life: Butternut Squash Baked Risotto

A Feteful Life: Butternut Squash Baked Risotto

Butternut Squash Baked Risotto (from Martha Stewart Meatless Cookbook)

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, diced small
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, leaves
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 medium butternut squash (2 pounds), peeled and diced medium (4 cups)
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 bunch black (Tuscan) or curly kale, tough stems removed, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick strips
Grated Parmesan, for serving

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium Dutch oven or heavy ovenproof pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat oil over medium-high. Add shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add rice and cook, stirring frequently, until opaque, about 3 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add wine and cook, stirring, until completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add squash and broth; bring mixture to aboil. Stir in kale.

Cover, transfer to oven, and bake until rice is tender and most of liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. To serve, sprinkle with Parmesan.

Date Night In: Sushi

Before having kids, I was obsessed with sushi and we ate it at least once a week. Then I got pregnant with our first child and I was totally repulsed by the thought of it, which was fine because I couldn’t really eat it anyway. But, the feel lasted, and lasted, and lasted. It has only be in the last year (almost 6 years later) that I’ve gotten the sushi bug back. Phew. So, now that I’m back on the sushi wagon, I’ve been wanting to start making some at home and I think it would be a perfect date night in. Jim’s not one to help out in the kitchen but I can totally imagine him getting his precise engineer self on while rolling up some yummy new rolls. Here’s what I’m thinking…

A Feteful Life: Sushi Date Night In1. I’m not a huge fan of sake but I do love me some Japanese beer.

2. Sushi – duh, you need sushi for a sushi date night. Salmon rolls are my faves.

3. Since I’ve never made sushi before, this beautifully photographed and basic sushi cookbook will be perfect to help guide us through the process.

4. Aren’t these chopsticks and stands awesome? I love the little fish and the colors. Perfection.

5. I love this marble serving tray from CB2. Our sushi rolls will look beautiful on it!

6. A bamboo rolling mat is so inexpensive and easy to find at your grocery store or kitchen supply store. It doesn’t need to be fancy.

 

Fried Rosemary Almonds

A Feteful Life: Fried Rosemary AlmondsI’ve been dreaming about these almonds for over a year now. The last winery we visited (Robert Sinskey) during our trip to Napa last year had wonderful food pairings with their wines. All of the food was amazing but the almonds are the only thing that I kept thinking about (probably it was the only thing that I could figure out how to make on my own). Anyway, so with the extra rosemary that I had from the Italian Greyhound I posted yesterday, I decided that it was time to give this dish a try. So I did, and then I proceed to eat the whole bowl. Yum!

Fried Rosemary Almonds 

Ingredients

1 cup blanched almonds*
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon rosemary
coarse salt

Directions

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the blanched almonds to the oil and stir frequently for 2-3 minutes to ensure the almonds don’t brown to much. Remove the pan from the heat, add the rosemary and salt the almonds to taste. Cool before serving and store in an airtight container for a week or two.

* If you can’t find blanched almonds, you can easily make your own. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add raw, unsalted almonds to the water and let them cook for about a minute (not any longer or they will soften too much). Immediately strain the almonds and place them in an ice bath or run them under cool water. Once cooled, simply peel the skin from the almonds (they almost pop out of the skin if you squeeze on one of the ends). Place the blanched almonds on a paper towel to remove any excess water before frying them.

A Feteful Life: Fried Rosemary Almonds

A Feteful Life: Fried Rosemary Almonds

A Feteful Life: Fried Rosemary Almonds

A Feteful Life: Fried Rosemary Almonds

A Feteful Life: Fried Rosemary Almonds

A Feteful Life: Fried Rosemary Almonds

 

 

 

Cocktail Hour: Italian Greyhound

A Feteful Life: Cocktail Hour - Italian GreyhoundI’m on a big Italian kick right now. I love how simple combinations of flavors can become something truly spectacular. And, this cocktail is exactly that — spectacular. I’ve had several greyhounds in my day but the addition of some rosemary sugar and bitters really takes this one to the next level. If the grapefruit juice is a bit thick or sweet for you, you could always add some club soda to lighten it up.

Italian Greyhound

Ingredients

1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
1/4 cup sugar
1 ounce gin
4 ounces pink grapefruit juice
bitters

Directions

Combine the finely chopped rosemary and the sugar in a small bowl and place on a rimmed plate. Wet the rim of your glass with some of the grapefruit juice and place in the sugar mixture to coat. Fill the glass with ice and add the gin and grapefruit juice. Top off with a dash or two of bitters, then stir gently. Add a sprig of rosemary for garnish. Enjoy!

A Feteful Life: Cocktail Hour - Italian Greyhound A Feteful Life: Cocktail Hour - Italian Greyhound A Feteful Life: Cocktail Hour - Italian Greyhound

Back to School! Breakfast

A Feteful Life: Back to School Breakfast

Woohoo! It’s back to school for my kiddos today! We were actually all so excited about it that I thought it’d be fun to have a low-key “back to school breakfast” for my loves. And it forced me to finally “interview” both of my kids, which I’ve really been wanting to do, so I’m going to pretend it was my plan all along to do a back to school interview. It’s all up over at Honest to Nod today — check it out!

Want to hear your own kids say sweet and funny stuff? Just click right here to download our free Back to School Interview printable!

And thanks to The Land of Nod for gifting us the Meri Meri Toot Sweet Collection items and the growth chart!

A Feteful Life: Back to School Breakfast

A Feteful Life: Back to School Breakfast

A Feteful Life: Back to School Breakfast

Dining Al Fresco… Greek Style

If I could pick one place in the whole world to visit, it would be Greece. I’ve never been and I’m absolutely dying to go. Santorini, Mykonos, Crete, Athens… I don’t care, I want to go and soak up the culture and food. Since that dream isn’t happening anytime soon, I think it’s time for me to bring a little bit of Greece to me. Here are some of my favorite ideas to throw a Greek inspired al fresco dinner. Fete on!

A Feteful Life: Greek Inspired Al Fresco Dinner1. Nothing screams Greece to me more than the combination of blue & white and these beautiful dishes from West Elm are no exception. I love their modern yet organic feel.

2. Candles are essential when it come to al fresco dining. There are a lot more ornate or detailed lanterns on the market these days but these simple wood ones from Crate & Barrel would be perfect!

3. Start out with a simple mezze platter of dolmas, olives, feta & hummus like this one from PopSugar. Add some chicken souvlaki and some greek yogurt with berries and you’ve got yourself a meal!

4. While dining under an olive grove would be best, I’ll have to settle with creating my own grove of olives by using olive branches as the centerpiece.

5. Keep things casual but elegant by decanting some greek white wine in a decanter and serving the wine in tumblers rather than wine glasses. I love this rustic blown glass set from VivaTerra.

 

Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Slaw & Avocado Cream

A Feteful Life: Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Slaw & Avocado CreamI love Mexican food. Honestly, I think it would be a tough fight between Italian and Mexican food if I had to pick just one to eat for the rest of my life. I think why I like both of them so much is that they use simple fresh ingredients to create beautiful and delicious food. And, my absolute favorite Mexican food to make are tacos. Learning that I could char my taco shells with my gas range has been a game changer for me and has resulted in a lot of tacos. These chicken tacos are one of our favorites. Not only is it simple to whip up, the cilantro slaw and the avocado cream are heavenly. Enjoy!

A Feteful Life: Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Slaw & Avocado Cream

A Feteful Life: Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Slaw & Avocado Cream

A Feteful Life: Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Slaw & Avocado Cream

A Feteful Life: Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Slaw & Avocado Cream

A Feteful Life: Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Slaw & Avocado Cream

A Feteful Life: Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Slaw & Avocado Cream

A Feteful Life: Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Slaw & Avocado Cream

Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Slaw & Avocado Cream {adapted from Cooking Light}

Ingredients

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/4-inch strips
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon  salt
1/2 teaspoon dried cilantro
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Cooking spray
1/8 teaspoon grated lime rind
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
1/4 cup light sour cream
2 tablespoons 1% low-fat milk
1/2 ripe peeled avocado, diced
2 cups packaged angel hair slaw
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 (6-inch) flour tortillas

Directions

Heat a large skillet over high heat. Sprinkle chicken evenly with chile powder, garlic salt and cumin. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove chicken from pan.

Combine rind, 1 tablespoon juice and next 3 ingredients (through avocado) in a blender or food processor; process until smooth.

Combine remaining 1 tablespoon juice, slaw, onions, cilantro, oil and salt, tossing to coat.

With a pair of tongs hold a tortilla over the flame of a gas burner for a few seconds, checking regularly to ensure that it doesn’t burn. Flip and repeat with the other side. Keep the tortillas warm on an oven safe plate in a warm oven and cover with aluminum foil.