This week we're sharing the second party in our Gatherings from The Kitchn series, an elegant, make-ahead spring brunch I hosted for my book club. I often admire the intricately-styled table settings on design and wedding blogs, but they rarely seem realistic for my budget or styling capabilities. My goal for this party was to create a table that was inspirational, not just aspirational; in other words, a table that could move from Pinterest to reality without requiring a degree in design or hundreds of dollars. Here are four concrete tips for putting together a special, stylish table on a small budget.
The price of silver keeps rising. What's a southern girl to do if her pattern will never be completed? Go to eBay, of course. Sterling looks better with age, like you've had it for a while and you know how to use it. But the prices on eBay aren't really any better than anywhere else... unless you aren't afraid of monograms.
My sister-in-law is a genius, one of those mothers who always knows how to have a good time while maintaining decent parenting technique. She started "F Friday." The children think the "F" stands for "fun." Their parents know it stands for the chance to slack off, not worry about making dinner, and hang with their friends. This is how it works.
I hate spending money on things I rarely use, hate burning through the disposable instead of investing in the reusable, and hate finding space for party decorations and supplies in my small apartment closets. And yet...I love hosting parties that are well-equipped and nicely decorated. How to host large gatherings without breaking the bank or having to keep lots of party supplies crammed under my bed? Enter the communal party supply collection, or as one of my friends dubbed it, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Party Supplies.
For open kitchen layouts that blend into the entertaining and living areas (say, in a loft, for example) this idea seamlessly integrates the two: a kitchen island that's kitchen-ey on one side, and home design-focused on the other!
Dinner parties are one of life’s great pleasures: the preparation and planning, the first pop of a cork, the mutual enjoyment of new dishes and old favorites, and the conversation around the table that can last into the wee hours. But what if every night is a dinner party and you have to keep it simple? More often than not, we have extra people around our table, usually aunts, uncles, or grandparents, but we’re happy to welcome friends, as long as they don’t mind eating with children. The meals are simple, served family style, often including recipes from my childhood, and the conversation stays clean. (Little pitchers have big ears and all that.)
It was 'polenta party' time at Faith's house last week, and she served it with a delicious dish of beef braised in red wine. My mouth is watering already. So, the big question we pondered was, what wine or rather what wines to serve alongside this robust, meaty, yet creamy dish. Here are some thoughts on how to choose wines to go with this meal, and some specific budget picks.
Lately I've been looking to add more healthy seafood to my diet without breaking the bank, and while canned fish will never have the allure of a fresh filet, today's good-quality canned salmon is not the fishy, bone-studded mush you may be picturing. The boneless and skinless fish — once flaked and mixed with brown rice, cilantro, shallots and lime juice — cooks up into crisp-edged cakes that make an easy and satisfying weeknight meal, especially when topped with a dollop of Sriracha-spiked mayonnaise.
How long will chicken stay fresh in the refrigerator? How long can you keep grapes on the countertop? Is it okay to freeze cucumbers? There is a certain amount of common sense when determining if a given food is past its prime (and you can always try a smell test) but for general guidelines and planning purposes this infographic from Visual.ly is incredibly handy. Check out the full graph below with shelf life guides to over 30 uncut, unopened, and uncooked fruits, veggies, meats, condiments and other typical fridge foods: