If you love to entertain family and friends in your home, you’ve come to the right place! You’ll find simple ideas to make a memorable experience, from beautiful table settings to great do-ahead recipes! You can even go that extra mile and make your own home-made napkin rings to add that special and unique touch! So go ahead and start planning your own special occasion! You can’t miss!

Salted Peanut Chews

36 Bars

Crust:
1-1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 baking soda
1/2 cup margarine or butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs yolks
3 cups miniature marshmallows
 
Topping:
2/3 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup margarine or butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 (10 oz,) package peanut butter chips
2 cups crisp rice cereal
2 cups salted peanuts
 into bars.

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  In large bowl, combine all crust ingredients except marshmallows at low speed until crumbly.  Press firmly in bottom of ungreased 13×9-inch pan.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until light golden brown.  Remove from oven; immediately sprinkle with marshmallows.  Return to oven, bake an additional 1-2 minutes or until marshmallows just begin to puff.  Cool while preparing topping.
  3. In large saucepan, combine all topping ingredients except cereal and peanuts.  Heat just until chips are melted and mixture is smooth, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat, stir in cereal and peanuts.  Immediately spoon warm topping over marshmallows; spread to cover.  Refrigerate 45 minutes or until firm.  Cut into bars.

      PayDay_Bars

Paella Party

During the summer, life just slows down and gets more laid-back, and so does the entertaining!   The key to a fun, casual party is in the no-fuss details and getting your guests involved.  The Spanish dish Paella is delightfully delicious, and makes for a really memorable event!  Your guests will enjoy ”working” for their dinner, as this dish is a group effort! 

Fred

This is the most important thing about this party – have all the ingredients ready to go before you start, and designate someone to be in charge of following the recipe!  This is Fred – he’s been “in charge” of at least four of our paella parties, and all we have to do is keep his wine glass full!  We have our guests draw a number, which corresponds to the steps in the recipe, putting two people on each task.  We have found this is a great way to mix people that may not know each other, and a great way to mix the generations  (we put one of our friends on a “team” with one of our sons’ friends!)

Mushrooms

Chix

When your number is called, you pick an apron (the dorkier the better!) and get your designated ingredient(s) from the table and throw them in the pan, and follow Fred’s instructions!  He can be quite bossy, which makes it a lot of fun!

Ready

After everyone has joined in the fun of preparation, it’s time to dig in!

If you don’t have a paella pan, you can always rent one!  They usually come with the special heating stand.  Also, I sometimes have the guests bring an ingredient or two, to keep the cost down.

 

Paella for 30
 
Olive oil
4 Peppers-we used one of each color, sliced, not circles
8 lbs. Chicken Thighs, skinless & boneless
2 lbs. sliced Portuguese Linguisa sausage (spicy hot is good)
3 White onions, sliced lengthwise, not circles
12 garlic cloves- minced
3 lbs. sliced mushrooms
8 Roma tomatoes, cubed
6 cups Arborio rice
10 cups Chicken broth
2 cups white wine
Saffron- I use a whole small container
2 tablespoons Paprika
Bay leaf
1-½ teaspoons Salt
5 lbs. clams, rinsed and inspected
2 lbs. green beans (the small French ones ready to cook)
2 lbs. snow peas
4 lbs. shrimp (uncooked, cleaned, deveined, tails off and rinsed in lime juice)
3 lemons cut into wedges
 

  1. Heat 1-½ tablespoons of oil in Paella pan
  2. Add peppers and cook 5 minutes until start to bubble/brown. Remove peppers and set aside.
  3. Add 1-½ tablespoons oil to pan
  4. Add chicken thighs and cook on medium-high heat for 3 minutes, making sure pieces don’t touch. Flip chicken and cook 3 min. more. Remove chicken and cover with foil.
  5. Add sausage to paella pan and cook until brown 7-10 min. Remove sausage to plate & cover.
  6. Add 2 tablespoons oil & onions to pan and cook for 3 minutes.
  7. Add garlic and cook 1 minute.
  8. Add mushrooms and cook 10 minutes.
  9. Add tomatoes and cook 3 minutes.
  10. Add rice, coating with ingredients in pan, cook a little.
  11. Stir in chicken broth, wine, saffron, paprika, bay leaf & salt.
  12. Add chicken and sausage and bring to a boil.
  13. Cover with heavy duty foil and cook for 15 minutes.  Have the foil ready and waiting usually takes 2 pieces folded together
  14. Add clams, green beans and snow peas.
  15. Cover and cook 5 minutes.
  16. Add shrimp and cover for 5 more minutes, until liquid is almost gone.
  17. Add peppers on top.
  18. Place lemon wedges around edge of pan.

 Serve with green salad and bread.

Jewelry Box Centerpiece

This is one of my favorite centerpieces!  I filled my jewelry box with wet oasis and surrounded that with clear gems so the oasis wouldn’t show.  I then added the flowers and a string of craft pearls.  I hid a small stick in the flowers to hold open the lid!
Jewelry_box