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This time of year is like a ladies party extravaganza. If they aren't getting married, they are having babies. And those are both really good reasons to celebrate. You know I'm a big fan of the simple celebration so I've put together a really good spring luncheon that gives you a reason to celebrate with your ladies even if no one is having a baby (reason to celebrate!) or getting married (again?).
The simplest way to host a luncheon is to make a really big salad filled with everything and a really delicious cocktail. Last summer I started blending watermelon into juice and using that to mix cocktails. It's a big hit. Everyone loves blended watermelon.
This cocktail is great because you can make it boozy, new-mom-friendly, or in a punch bowl so you don't have to serve anyone. I highly recommend having these made ahead of time so when the ladies arrive, you can hand them a cocktail immediately and they can get into the mood.
DOUBLE WATERMELON DAIQUIRI
Blend watermelon, lime juice, and rum (if you're using it) in a blender until fully combined and the watermelon is liquified.
Fill cups half way with watermelon puree or pour all of it in a punch bowl. Top with Watermelon DRY Sparkling.
Serve with lime wedges
1/2 watermelon, pureed (4 cups watermelon juice)
2 cups light rum
1/2 cup lime juice + wedges
2 cups Watermelon DRY Sparkling
I'll be totally honest. I had a salad at a restaurant recently that was and amazing cobb salad and I had this fabulous brainstorm to make a cobb salad using all of the fresh spring ingredients that are popping up in the farmer's markets right now Think asparagus and radishes and tiny potatoes and peas all arranged beautifully on a platter. Then right before I had my photo shoot, another local blogger created E X A C T L Y what I was thinking. Clearly, we eat at the same restaurants.
I was so bummed. Mine was different because it does have eggs and doesn't have beans (which you could add when you do the asparagus!) so it's not the same. But I like to be unique. Do something different. It's a personal goal that often gets busted by the bazillion recipe developers that are out there, but I try.
So I decided I could use the same ingredients (which are A M A Z I N G right now!) and toss them like a chop chop salad. Not only do you get the same delicious flavors but, you also can't screw this up. I know if I made a cute arranged salad I would hear "mine won't look like yours" or "pinterest-fail" and I don't want you to ever feel like a fail. Also, when you toss this thing together the egg yolk "melts" down a little bit with the dressing and creates a really good creamy texture without any actual cream. You could almost call it healthy then.
SPRING CHOP CHOP SALAD
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Place raw eggs in a pot of cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat, drain off hot water and fill pot with ice and cold water to immediately cool the eggs.
Toss potatoes with olive oil and salt. Place on a baking sheet and roast 10 minutes until fork tender.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice and water and set aside. Quickly lower asparagus into hot water. Cook until just bright green – about 2 minutes. Remove from water and pop into ice bath.
Repeat with the peas.
Mix together 2 tbs bacon drippings, red wine vinegar, dried basil, honey, and Dijon mustard.
Chop all ingredients and toss together with salad dressing.
1 bunch Asparagus
1 cup Fresh peas
2 cups Artichoke hearts, cooked and sliced
6 Hard boiled eggs
¼ lb Tiny red potatoes – sliced in quarters
2 tbs olive oil
8 strips Bacon
2 tbs Chives
1 head romaine lettuce
2 tbs reserved bacon drippings
2 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp Dried Basil
1 tsp Honey
Can you actually have a luncheon without something sweet and sugary? I am pretty sure that's a hard no. When I was in Palm Springs I found this darling little bakery that made something very similar to this. I am 100% sure they made the dough from scratch and probably used lard. Since I have no patience for dough and no desire to include lard into my life, I made these with just a little puff pastry. They are addictive.
CINNAMON SUGAR TWISTS
Unroll the puff pastry and using a rolling pin to flatten. Roll out to 12" x 15" or so. Just a bit larger, basically.
Brush the top of the puff pastry with half of the butter. Mix together 1/2 of the sugar and all of the cinnamon and dust half of it over the top of the pastry.
Slice the pastry into strips using a pizza cutter or a knife.
Twist each strip, wrap in a circle and pop on a baking sheet.
Pop in the oven and bake 20 minutes. As soon as they come out of the oven, sprinkle the top of each with the plain granulated sugar.
Repeat with the second sheet of pastry.
1 package puff pastry, defrosted (2 sheets)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup melted butter
What kind of celebrations are you hosting this spring? This would be fun to host just because and not for any other reason. There's always something to celebrate; friend got her kids out of the house without yelling? CELEBRATION! Your fourth grader finally tied their shoes on their own? CELEBRATION! Your six year old left his shirt on at school all day? CELEBRATION!
Tell me why you're celebrating!
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A signature cocktail is a really easy way to make your holiday party seem fancy, but is actually a really cheap way to come off as swanky. I highly recommend it. It's the secret to every good party.
This is a great one too because the cider can double as a non-alcoholic drink. Put everything out for your guests, teach your chattiest person how to make them, then assign them as the 'bartender' for the night. Enjoy!
I think eggnog is the best and the worst. I love the flavors but I hate the dairy. It's too much. It's heavy and cloying and I recently found out I don't stomach dairy very well. But doesn't champagne with eggnog sound lovely?
This is actually frighteningly good. I made it for the photoshoot at 3 in the afternoon and managed to drink the whole thing. Whoops. I highly recommend it.
This is the perfect cocktail for Christmas brunch, a signature cocktail at a holiday party, New Years toasts, or really just when you are feeling particularly festive.