Friday, December 29, 2017

Toast to New Year's Mocktails

Courtesy of Andrew Rakos

Happy New Year Friends,

Learn how to whip up some delicious mocktails that cater to nondrinkers.

Creativity expert Andrew Rakos whips up some delicious New Year's Eve mocktails that cater to nondrinkers. His recipes use everything from designer ice cubes to fun-shaped root-beer floats.

Mix juice flavors, pour into ice molds or ice-cube trays and freeze. Add the flavored ice to other beverage bases such as club soda and other clear drinks. As the ice melts, the flavor is added to the drink. Also, if food coloring is added to the flavored ice before freezing, it will be added to the drink with the flavor.

For a different touch, freeze tiny edible flowers into the cubes by first filling trays halfway and freezing them. Add edible flowers and fill trays the rest of the way and freeze. Mix drinks with fizz and colorful juices, such as half berry juice and half soda.

Garnishes for drinks make them more festive. Use any kind of fruit such as grapefruit, orange, lemon and lime slices.

The Shirley Temple
  • ice
  • ginger ale
  • grenadine
  • orange slices
  • mint slices
    Fill glass with ice. Pour ginger ale and grenadine over the ice. Garnish with orange and mint slices.

Matthew Mouse Mocktail
  • ice
  • cola
  • vanilla ice cream
  • cookie of choice
  • colored sugar-covered chocolate pieces
    Fill a wide, fun-shaped glass with ice. Pour cola until the ice is barely covered. Add a big dollop of vanilla ice cream on top of the ice. Put a cookie on each side of ice cream to make ears, and add colored sugar-covered chocolate pieces to the front of dollop for the eyes and nose.

Woo-Woo Mocktail
  • orange juice
  • pineapple juice
  • grenadine
  • lemon juice
  • bitters
    Mix equal parts of orange juice and pineapple juice. Add a dash each of grenadine, lemon juice and bitters.

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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Host a New Year's Day Brunch

Courtesy of HGTV

Happy New Year Friends,

This tasty brunch is a cinch to prepare so you can ring in the new year without knocking yourself out. Its a Fresh Start; January 1st is all about making resolutions and starting the year off on the right foot. Invite family and friends over for a tasty brunch to celebrate new beginnings. To inspire feelings of rejuvenation, choose simple decor and a colorful menu.

Easy Arrangements

The talented team at The Byrd Collective created these eye-catching centerpieces that couldn't be easier — just buy a dozen tulips or carnations in bright colors to match your party's decor. Group the flowers together in monochromatic bunches, then place in stemless wine glasses and arrange in a line down the center of the table.

Keep It Casual

Sometimes the simpler a place setting, the better. For this party, keep the place settings casual, using only the essentials: knife, fork, napkin and plate. Two small disco ball ornaments tied around a folded napkin add a touch of glitz.

Do-It-Yourself Cocktails

Here's a fun way to encourage guest interaction at the party: Set up a build-your-own-mimosa bar to let guests get creative with their drinks and free up the hostess from playing bartender during the party. Small recipe cards set in front of the ingredients provide fun ideas for mixing up specialty cocktails.

  • Set Up a Make-Your-Own Mimosa Bar

    Kick off your brunch get-together on a festive note by letting guests be their own mixologists at a self-serve mimosa bar.

  • Bring On the Bubbly

    Mimosas traditionally call for Champagne, but any good-quality sparkling wine works equally well. Italian Prosecco and Spanish Cava are two affordable and equally delicious bubbly options.

  • Self-Serve Station

    Design mini recipe cards to spark guests' cocktail creativity. At our New Year's Day brunch, the following combinations were featured concoctions: For a Raspberry-Ginger Mimosa: Add a shot of Chambord to a flute. Drop in a raspberry, candied ginger, and top with sparkling wine. For a Grapefruit-Mint Mimosa: Add a shot of grapefruit juice to a flute. Drop in a sprig of mint and top with sparkling wine. For a Strawberry-Peach Bellini: Add a shot of peach purée to a flute. Drop in a fresh strawberry and top with sparkling wine.

  • Opt for Vintage Glassware

    Try mixing and matching a variety of champagne flutes to add interest to the table. Flea markets and thrift stores are great places to find unique glassware options on the cheap. Place them all on the bar and let guests choose their favorite.

  • Great Garnishes

    Set out garnishes like candied ginger, fresh berries, sugar cubes and mint in small, see-through bowls that allow their colors to add visual appeal to the bar. Pitchers holding fruit purées and fresh juices should be kept chilling in the refrigerator until just before guests arrive.

  • Chill, Then Serve
    An hour before party time, place one bottle of sparkling wine in a champagne bucket filled with half water and half ice. For backup bottles, fill another container with ice (a bathtub is perfect for this!) If there's room, chill champagne flutes in the freezer. When it's party time, pop the cork and prepare to toast the new year.

Simple Seating

Formal place cards would have felt too stiff, so in keeping with the party's relaxed, casual vibe, just write guests' names on card stock then cut a slit in the paper's top and bottom and slide a wide grosgrain ribbon through so you can tie it to the back of the chair.

Sharing Resolutions

Jump start the table talk by asking each guest to anonymously write down their New Year's resolution and drop it into a jar. When everyone's seated, bring the collection to the table and take turns reading resolutions aloud, allowing guests to jump in and guess who wrote each one.

Incorporate Bright Flavors

In addition to being delicious, bright, seasonal food can be a beautiful addition to a party's decor. My friends at Any Style Catering created a buffet boasting clean, colorful and fuss-free dishes. Poached pears perfectly lined up on a tart add a gorgeous splash of bold color. Here's the recipe for this Poached Pear Galette.

  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 bottle white wine
  • 2 large beets, quartered
  • 4 bartlett pears, peeled
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 16 oz tub mascarpone
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
special equipment: 8x8 removable bottom tart pan, pie weights

Yield: Serves 12

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place beets and pears in a pot just large enough to allow them to lay in a single layer. Add allspice, sugar and wine and simmer uncovered over low heat until easily pierced with a paring knife, about 60 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, roll out puff pastry into a 9x9 square and place in tart pan, gently pressing the dough into the sides of the pan. Trim excess dough from the sides of the pan and pierce with a fork to prevent rising.
  4. Place the dough in the freezer for at least 15 minutes. Remove from freezer and weight the dough and bake it for 20 minutes. Remove weights and bake for another 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
  5. Set the tart shell aside to cool, and combine the mascarpone and powdered sugar in a small bowl.
  6. When the pears are tender, remove them from the cooking liquid to cool. Discard beets and boil the cooking liquid over medium-high heat until reduced to a half cup.
  7. Once the pears cool, cut them in half lengthwise and core them with a small measuring spoon. Slice pears lengthwise 1/8-inch thick, keeping the slices in neat stacks.
  8. Once the tart shell is completely cooled, fill it with the mascarpone mixture, making a level base for the pears. Fan the sliced pears out over the mascarpone, trying to space them as evenly as possible.
  9. Finally, brush the cooled wine reduction over tart and serve at room temperature or cooled.
Food in a Flash

Brunch is, without a doubt, one of my favorite times of day to have a party. Fortunately, many brunch items are also a cinch to prepare, like these mini bagels with cream cheese and smoked salmon that you can assemble in a jiffy. Here's the Mini Bagels With Lox recipe.

Easily turn grocery store items into tasty brunch mini mouthfuls that you can assemble in just minutes before guests arrive.

  • 12 store-bought mini bagels
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh dill, plus sprigs for garnish
  • 1/2 cup whipped cream cheese
  • 1/2 pound thinly-sliced lox

Yield: 24 servings

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Halve bagels, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until toasted, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir chopped dill into the cream cheese. Spread cut sides of bagels with cream cheese, and top with a small slice of lox. Garnish with a sprig of dill.

For this party, I focused less on the glitz of New Years Eve, and more on the idea of a fresh start and clean slate. White and lucite create a minimalist backdrop for decor, while bold saturated colors popped up in the details as crisp accents. For an added burst of energy, bring in the celebratory mood of the previous night with touches of metallic and colorful confetti.

Bon Appétit...

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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

How to Throw a New Year's Eve Re-Gifting Party

Courtesy of Melissa Macron
Photography by Daniela Lukomski

Happy New Year Friends,

Don't wait till next Christmas to re-gift those unloved presents. Instead, host a New Year's Eve re-gifting party for a fun and festive mashup. New Year, New Gifts (To You!) What could make New Year’s Eve even more fun? Presents! At this combo party styled by Daniela Lukomski, guests bring great gifts they received over the holidays—but wouldn’t use—to pass along to someone who would. After the exchange, it’s time to ring in the New Year!

Present Perfect

Party guests arrive dressed for the occasion and bearing their re-gifting goodies. Keep the soirée on the smaller side with good friends so that presents can be more personal.

Gift Stop

Designate a table or other area as the gift station for guests to drop off their re-gifting presents as they arrive.

A Bit of Bubbly

Whether champagne or a signature party cocktail, offer guests a festive beverage to kick off the celebration.

Good Eats
Set out an array of savory and sweet finger foods, like mini quiches, crackers and cheese and chocolate-dipped biscotti to allow guests to grab and go as they like while they chat and mingle.

The Gift Exchange

Gather guests near the gift station and let the fun begin!

It's a Match

The gorgeous apron that didn’t work for someone who rarely cooks makes the perfect gift for the amateur baker of the group!

Keep It Going

It’s great to know thoughtful presents won’t go to waste when they’re re-gifted to the right people!

A Perfect Pair

These fancy leather gloves may not have suited someone who prefers more casual accessories, but are beloved by the fashionista friend.

Pass-Along Presents

A fragrance-sensitive friend may pass on a pretty scented candle. The board game you love but already have is likely to be a hit with another pal. Food and drink items can also be prohibitive for some with allergies or diet restrictions—but would be appreciated by others.

Fun and Festive

With the re-gifting complete, it’s time to move on to making and capturing some entertaining memories of the evening. With a little imagination, construction paper, glue and cute straws, DIY photobooth props are ready to go!

Beautify a Backdrop

Golden streamers and a handcrafted banner combine to create a simple, charming spot for some photo keepsakes.

Say Cheese

Get the group together for a sweet shot that’ll keep everyone smiling well into the new year.

Pop the Top

Get ready to celebrate, the new year is moments away!

Midnight Madness

It’s finally here—Happy New Year!

10 - 9 - 8 - 7 - 6 - 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

FREE Printable New Year's Templates

Courtesy of Liz Gray and Kim Stoegbauer, The TomKat Studio
Photography by ten22 studio

Hi Friends,

Every New Year's Eve party needs a bit of glitz, don't you think? Luckily, we have an exclusive collection of printable party decor and easy paper crafts from The TomKat Studio; the sparkle is provided, you bring the bubbly!

Tissue Paper Tassel Garland
Tassel garlands are a huge party trend. It's easy to make your own with some tissue paper or sparkling mylar, scissors and string. A few tassels in sparkling mylar add a festive touch to your handmade tassel garland. Sheets of mylar are available at most craft stores. This tutorial shows you how to make a larger version big enough to dress the front of a buffet table or stretch across a wall, but you can easily scale down the project. For a version small enough to add flair to your dining chairs, use 1/8 sheet of tissue paper per tassel.

Materials Needed:
  • 1/2 sheet of 20" x 20" or 20" x 24" tissue paper or mylar per
  • scissors
  • ribbon or cord

Cut Fringe
Fold a piece of tissue paper in half and in half the other way. Cut strips towards the fold to create fringe, leaving about 1 inch uncut at the fold line. Once all strips are cut, unfold the tissue and cut in half so you have 2 sheets with fringe (to make 2 tassels).

Twist Tassels
Unfold tissue paper. Begin rolling tightly down the middle crease. Continue rolling, fold in half and then twist to create a loop for hanging.

Create More Tassels and Finish Garland
Repeat to create additional tassels in various colors. Hang from thin cord or ribbon.

Printable Party Flags
Attach these printable party flags to monochromatic tubes of white candies (such as Sixlets) and hand out as guests depart. Or, attach to drinking straws, lollipops or cake pops.

Click HERE to download Printable Party Flags

Custom Printable Invitations
Get guests in the festive mood by sending out this custom-designed printable invitation. Add your party details and embellish the bow design with glitter before sending to guests.

Click HERE to download Custom Printable Invitations

Such Great Heights
Elevate your party's style by displaying desserts on cake plates staggered in height. A fancy layer cake trimmed with pink and gold fondant ruffles is the perfect match for this party theme.

Edible Gold Embellishments
Pink cake pops sprinkled with edible gold glitter and embellished with gold bows tie in beautifully.

DIY Drink Embellishments
Dress up your serving vessels with tiny ribbon bows or DIY swizzle sticks made from straws and tissue paper.

Little Bites, Big Flavor
A New Year's Eve party typically means a late night, so be sure to offer a variety of appetizers and snacks to keep your guests in a festive mood. Bite-sized appetizers skewered on party picks are easy for guests to eat with a cocktail in hand. Write down the appetizer offerings on our printable menu cards to let guests know what they're eating.

Click HERE to download the Printable Menu Template

Easy-to-Make Appetizers
Simple, fresh watermelon-and-feta bites flavored with red wine vinegar and mint pair perfectly with bubbly champagne. Here's the recipe!

Feta, Mint and Watermelon Bites Recipe
Recipe Compliments of Joanna Meyer, Baked by Joanna

Makes about 24 pieces

  • 2 pounds seedless watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4-cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced into rings
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 sprig mint, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 24 decorative skewers (optional)

In a small bowl, combine the red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and onion rings; season with salt and pepper to taste and marinate for one hour in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap.

To assemble, place a watermelon cube on a plate, top with 2 marinated onion rings and sprinkle with feta and mint.

To create a more elegant look, twist the onion around a skewer in the shape of an eight. Tip: Add an extra twist or two if it is a larger ring) Poke the skewer into the watermelon; sprinkle feta and mint on top.

Cook's Note: The watermelon weight is after the rind has been removed.

Festive Favors
After midnight, send guests home with a mini favor bag packed with treats they can enjoy on New Year's Day. Label each bag with a printable "Thank You" tag.

Click HERE to download the Printable Favor Tags

Your family and friends will be impressed with this sophisticated Sparkling New Year's Eve Party and your HOSTING skills...

Happy New Year from your friends at Interior Design!

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Live well,

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Hi Friends,

The Holiday Season gives us the perfect opportunity to wish you all the timeless treasures of the season; the warmth of home, the love of family and the company of good friends.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from your friends at Interior Design!

Your kind contribution will allow us to continue sharing great, no cost and cost saving ideas for your space. Click the "Donate" button below to make a contribution. Thank you!

Live well,