Friday, May 18, 2012

First Time Hostess

So we moved into our condo in March 2011 and have had a few gatherings with friends over barbecue since then.  They were simple affairs, burgers and turkey sausage on the grill with some basic sides.  Just a few weeks ago however, I was going to host my first real party alone and have some girlfriends over for  a "jewelry party."  In case you haven't been to one, jewelry parties are on the rage these days.  I've been to three since last fall already, including my own, and have invites for two more this year.  They are a great way to get together with your girlfriends, have some food and drinks and look at beautiful fun high fashion jewelry!  While the jewelry is not "fine" it is great for wearing to work, parties, weddings, out on a date and even on vacation.

To me, the concept of a jewelry party was a great idea!  Mainly because it gives me an opportunity to upgrade my regular every day accessories that I had bought at Claire's Accessories oh so many years ago!  Aside from the fine jewelry stores, I couldn't really find that many stores which sold a good variety of adult jewelry which was not fine jewelry but still nice enough to wear to fancier occasions.  You can find them in department stores,  Anthropologie, Banana Republic and some specialty stores, but I was unaware of many store options.  So this was an amazing concept to me!  Also it gave me an excuse to get together with friends I would only see a couple of times a week at work or those good friends from high school and college whom I have to make plans way in advance with to see them.

So of course I spent a couple weeks figuring out a delicious menu that would also be easy and less time consuming for me to make and which would be enough to feed the 8 people attending.  I started out by making a list of food and drinks I wanted to provide and then make a grocery list based on the ingredients I needed.  Duh! that sounds so common sense it was almost not worth typing...  But since I think linearly I'd rather put in more information rather than less to document the process!

This is what my shopping cart was looking like after I had tore up the grocery store:

Ohhhh yeaaaaah!  There's a party going on right here!

Here's what was on my menu:
  1. Cheese, crackers and grapes
  2. Baked brie wrapped in puff pastry
  3. Roasted chickpeas with rosemary and parmesan
  4. Watermelon, feta, cucumber and mint salad
  5. Quinoa, cucumber and feta salad
  6. Mushroom and sun-dried tomato flatbread
  7. Turkey meatballs in a crushed tomato sauce
  8. Chocolate fondue with strawberries
  9. Mimosas
  10. Strawberry lemonade with mint
I got many of these recipes from on of my favorite cookbooks:  Cook Yourself Thin Faster.  Seriously, this book is amazing!  They have simple, quick and healthy recipes which are a wonder for anyone looking to cook something quick on a weeknight after work.  It's totally worth buying.  

Here is how everything looked after it was made: 

Water and strawberry lemonade. Adding lemon slices into the water give it a subtle citrus flavor and makes it look so presentable in the pitcher! 

Mimosas made of the finest ingredients :)  The guests just loved this! 

Making small labels for the cheese helped the guests out tremendously!

Baked brie!  It was  a hit! 

Roasted chickpeas with rosemary and parmesan.  

Quinoa feta and cucumber salad. Don't forget to add a bit of salt to the quinoa when its boiling to season it! 

Watermelon, cucumber, feta and mint salad.

Turkey meatballs prepared in the slow cooker.  Just 3 hours on "high" does the trick!

Chocolate fondue with strawberries. Mmm! Soooo good! 

Its safe to say my first time host(ess)ing was a success!  My friends and I had a great time catching up over a lazy Saturday afternoon, had some great food and drink and did some damage while shopping for great jewelry!  Although it took a lot of planning and work, I really loved hosting friends at our home.  I will definitely do it again!  Although, perhaps I will take a little break for now...

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