Tuesday, November 24, 2015

RECIPE :: Holiday Pasta Bites Appetizer + Party Tips

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HolidayPairings #CollectiveBias The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older.

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It's beginning to look a lot like  . . . that time of year again! That's right, the holiday season has started along with all of those parties that go right along with this season of fun! This is by far my favorite time of year and with all of the exciting things you may have planned, you could perhaps, use an idea for a different appetizer to try at your next party. Well you're in luck as today I am sharing a couple holiday party tips for a simple adult mixer over the holidays, an easy holiday bites appetizer recipe and hopefully you find an idea or two to do at your own holiday party this year!

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I love to entertain and these tips I am sharing with you today have always helped this girl out, so hopefully they do you too. They are my TOP 5 things needed for a holiday cocktail party: I believe every fab party should include amazing appetizers, a great wine, accessories, serving pieces and a great focal point. 

1. When planning a party table or a small gathering, try to make a great centerpiece or focal point for your guests that not only looks pretty but can be functional too. Layering different prints and varying heights can add a lot of visual eye candy to your table!

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2. It's the holidays! Time to bust out your fancy serving pieces, ya know . . . the ones you save for a special occasion! This IS that time, time to use all of those great platters in all the great colors, textures and prints to dress up your table scape.

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3. Make sure to use some accessories on your table, like cheese cutters, serving pieces, to napkins and dessert plates as you don't want your guests having to search for what they need.

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4. It's a party, so make sure to have some great wine on hand that pairs up nicely with the other food you will be serving. This one I picked up in Walmart's wine department and they have a great selection . . .this one is from the Robert Mondavi Private Collection.

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5. Truth. If I could live on nothing but appetizers, I soooo would, as they are the first thing I munch on at a party and I think it's because they tend to be mini versions of food, I love anything mini, so it totally makes sense. On my latest trip to Walmart I picked up some classics that I always have at my gatherings, as they always have what I am looking for: assorted cheeses, grapes, Pepperidge Farm cracker trio, Pepperidge Farm Classic cookie collection and a great bottle of wine to compliment them all. (have you seen their super premium wine department lately? Great selection and even better prices!) I also wanted to try to make something a little different to have on hand but still be a finger food. I wanted a pasta appetizer, so I picked up this new Barilla Pronto Penne pasta to give my idea a try.

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This recipe is super quick and easy! The recipe for: Holiday Pasta Bites

1. All you are going to do is assemble this appetizer after you cook the pasta but it was so easy and quick, so no worries. Simply follow the directions on the pasta box as it's a one-pot cooking only method. (which means less dishes). Follow the instructions and allow to cool completely before assembling this appetizer.

2. Cut your choice of cheese into small squares, along with a veggie of your choosing. I used broccoli for mine and loved it.

3. Simply take a piece of pasta, then cheese, then piece of broccoli/veggie and slide onto a toothpick, repeating this until they are filled up & serve!

It's so quick and easy, as it probably only took me about 15 minutes to put together. This is good to know for all of those last minute hostesses that like to pull off something grand at the last minute! ;) I can see people having various dips for this or just eating plain - either way they are simple for your guests to pick up and enjoy! 

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All of the items for my celebration I found on latest trip to Walmart and they have all you need for your holiday entertaining this season. Also make sure to visit the Simple Entertaining Hub here to see more entertaining ideas and when they are scheduling wine tastings and demos in a store near you. I would love to hear what simple ways you use to entertain for the holidays? Do you have a favorite holiday food to serve? Hopefully you will give these a try! Please let me know below . . .

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

FREE Thanksgiving Give Thanks Cards + Dessert Idea

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Thanksgiving is coming up quick and it's one of my favorite holidays of the year because it's a whole day devoted to just giving thanks for what we have and not want we want. It's a day to spend with the people who matter and to be thankful for them. It's a day to reflect on what you have been blessed with over the course of the year and realize just how lucky you are. It's a day to focus on telling people just how thankful you are to have them in your life. It's a day to just give thanks!

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I love the holiday season, I love Thanksgiving and I like to keep it simple, if I can. The holidays are already so hectic and busy so it can make you feel rushed if you let it. So one way I like to slow things down a bit and not put so much pressure on myself, is to simplify and find ways to make any gathering feel special, with minimal effort. I love to set a table using things I already have around the house mixed in with maybe one new thing, to make all of the older stuff feel fresh again.

For this Thanksgiving dessert table idea I wanted to focus on a fun way to celebrate with a new dessert idea. We all know we are going to have turkey and all the fixings represented at Thanksgiving and most of us know we will have the traditional pumpkin pie dessert as well but what about something a little bit different and a little bit fun for dessert this year! That's where
Cold Stone Creamery comes into play for this simple dessert table set up, starting a new tradition and adding a fun dessert  to the mix!

  • My color palette always gets chosen first when I set up a table and I usually will base my color choices off the main food or dessert item. So when I picked up this pie, I knew I wanted to add copper into this mix along with some of the earth tones from the color of the pie.
  • For the background, I wanted the main focus to be this amazing 'thankful' sign I picked up this fall so I sat it on some small crates, put a few pumpkins around it and laid some flowers around the base. A small cake stand holds some fruit I painted, to add copper fruit accents to the mix. If you ever want to change up your decor in a minute, simply paint it to give it a whole new look! To make the background 'pop', I added a couple accordian fans to complete the look!

  • On the table, I used a runner down the center, added place mats at each place setting, then placed a paper plaid napkin for some color under white dessert plates. I topped each plate with a fork holding the 'Give Thanks' cards that you can download for free, along with a copper hand lettered place card and a coffee mug or copper mule mug with water.
  • For the dessert centerpiece, we have this pumpkin ice cream pie from Cold Stone Creamery and doesn't that just sound fabulous? Well it is, as it's pumpkin ice cream in a graham cracker pie crust, topped with cinnamon frosting and chocolate leaves. This is WHY Cold Stone is a fave in my house and it seems like we are always adding it to our celebrations! I love partnering up with my friends at Cold Stone Creamery and it's because we LOVE them and they always come up with the most delicious desserts for the holidays! The best part of getting these, is how simple it is to get . . .  I just order online at and then run over and pick it up! It really could not be easier and the leftovers on dessert is the best, right? ;) So go ahead and have all of the 'usual' desserts you like to have for Thanksgiving . . . all I am saying is ADD this to the mix too because everyone likes ice cream and everyone likes pie, so why not have an ice cream pie too?! ;)

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As I mentioned, I designed all of you a hand lettered FREEBIE for you to download, so you can use it at your Thanksgiving celebrations this year. The 'Give Thanks' hand lettered cards are perfect to have at each place setting, gathered on a table or placed out with the desserts so everyone has a chance to write down what they 'give thanks' for this year! It's very simple to download, simply click on this FREE 'Give Thanks' thanksgiving cards link, print, then cut them out and you are ready to go.

So go ahead and print this off right now and make sure to visit Cold Stone Creamery to order your Thanksgiving day ice cream pie and then you are that much closer to being ready for Thanksgiving! Enjoy my friends!

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Make sure if you are on Instagram to tag Cold Stone Creamery and share your slice of pie! They would love to see it! Or tweet Cold Stone if you prefer and let them know what you think of this amazing treat!

Have a happy happy Thanksgiving Day my friends! 
Do you ever have ice cream at Thanksgiving? Let me know below . . .

** Thanks for helping me support the companies that help make this blog possible. This post was sponsored by Cold Stone Creamery but all opinions were my own. I truly only share with you, companies and products that I use or enjoy simple because I know you will love them too.

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Looking forward to seeing you again! :)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

RECIPE :: Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Donuts + FREE recipe cards

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NestleHoliday #CollectiveBias

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Thanksgiving is fast approaching and like everyone else, I am sure you have started figuring out your menu and kind of have an idea of what you will be serving. That's great! I bet it's turkey! LOL . . .I kid, I kid, well I'm here to help you out with an easy and delicious Thanksgiving breakfast idea because you need something to munch on as you are preparing that Thanksgiving feast! This is a recipe that you can make up ahead of time and just get them out the morning of, for everyone to munch on while the feast is being prepped and cooked.

Plus I have an added bonus for you . . .some FREE Thanksgiving recipe cards!!! Use them to write down all of those recipes that you prepare, the family traditional recipes that you just have to have and all of the new ones that you need from that person who brings a new dish to share. If you are NOT hosting Thanksgiving this year, like me, do what I am doing . . .whip up a batch of these mini baked donuts and add in the recipe cards, tied with a pretty bow and you have yourself a fabulous and thoughtful hostess gift!

Now to tell you about the Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Donuts!! Like I said these are super easy to make because I grabbed just a few supplies on my last trip to Walmart and I was good to go! I love that Nestle had a pumpkin bread kit that makes it so much easier for me, since I am super busy right now, plus I have used these products before and know they are so good. I went ahead and stocked up on a couple other NESTLÉ® Holiday favorites, but made sure to grab this Libby's pumpkin bread mix kit, that comes with a can of Libby's pumpkin inside and the COFFEE-MATE® pumpkin spice creamer I needed for my recipe. 

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This recipe is super quick and easy! Here's the recipe for:  baked Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip mini donuts

1. Gather all of the ingredients you will need: 1 box of
NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Pumpkin Bread Kit (but look for the Libby's on the box), 1/2 cup of crushed pecans, 1 cup of powdered sugar, 3 tbl. of NESTLÉ® COFFEE-MATE® Pumpkin Spice Liquid Coffee Creamer, 1 cup of mini chocolate chips

2. Prepare donut batter per the instructions on the box of bread mix.

3. Place batter into piping bag and pipe into greased mini donut pans.

4. Add mini chocolate chips to each cavity of donut pan. (TIP: it's easier to pipe without the chocolate chips in the batter)

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 5-8 minutes until the donut springs back when touched.

6. Cool completely.

7. Prepare glaze for the donuts by mixing the powdered sugar and the coffee creamer together in a small bowl.

8. Dip tops of donuts in glaze and place on wax paper & sprinkle with chopped pecans.

9. After I added the pecans, I went back over & drizzled some more glaze on the donuts to keep the pecans in place a little better.

Yields about 8 dozen.

You can choose to just dip some of the donuts in the glaze and leave off the pecans if you have people that do not like nuts. I decoded to do both so everyone is happy but let me tell you, the ones with the pecans are amazing!

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Please remember to print out the FREE recipe cards then jump over to the  NESTLÉ® Flavorful Moments Pinterest Page to see more yummy creations you can whip up over the holidays! I'd love to hear what you make for your family during this busy holiday season! The ingredients were easy to find and the recipe makes enough for everyone!

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You can grab the FREE recipe cards here and remember, this would make a great hostess gift over the holidays for someone and make sure to include these delicious donuts! I mean who wouldn't LOVE pumpkin spice chocolate chip donuts right? ;)

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So what are you going to have for Thanksgiving breakfast? Hopefully you will give these a try! Please let me know below . . .

Thank you so much for letting me share this product with you and for supporting the brands and companies that help support my blog!  

Are you loving the "eye candy" here?

Then join me over on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter & Instagram so you never miss out on an exclusive deal or any behind the scenes photos!

Check out my designs, artwork & decor in my Etsy shop