Naptime Entertaining: Recipes & Ideas for Family Entertaining
New Year’s Eve is a bit of a conundrum with children. Do you get a babysitter and stay out until midnight? Do we just do a kids celebration and go to bed early and skip the hoopla? For the past few years our answer has been making punch, having dinner with friends and doing something a little inbetween. Since we don’t have an all out bash I don’t go crazy making a dizzying hard liquor punch. Instead I make a sparkly punch with a hint of booze, so it is tasty without being too over the top. It is perfect for family events and New Year’s Eve celebrations alike.
We are big fans of all things pumpkin in our house. Nothing in my kitchen is safe from a swirl of pumpkin and maybe a touch of browned butter. Nothing! I know I am not the only one with this tendency and it was no surprise to find a whole selection of pumpkin recipes in the recent Martha Stewart Living magazine. (Martha and her editors totally get me!) The first to the dozen recipes I clipped was this Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake. It was screaming my name and when we invited friends over for dinner I knew it would be the perfect thing to serve for dessert.
It’s time again for my annual birthday cake. In case you missed it, I am never one to shy away from birthdays. There is nothing about getting older that worries me or makes me want to run and bury my face in a pillow. Birthdays are for celebrating and having fun. In an attempt to pass this spirit onto my children, this year I got them involved in the baking of the cake. They have not always been invited to participate, but this year I wanted them to join in. They both still enjoy cooking with mom and this flavor is super kid-friendly, so why not make it a family occasion.
Summer is a little warm for making truffles, but so long as you store them in a cool place you can enjoy them as much as you want. I made this simple recipe for a dinner party a few weekends ago. I put them on a platter with raspberries, and little butter cookies. Sweet nibbles that were easy to make and fun to eat. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!
I’ve been revisiting a bunch of favorite this year and I couldn’t resist pointing out this one again. (And this time the picture is better!) The recipe is exactly the same so I am not going to reprint it, but I am going to sing its praises once more. EVERYONE should make this at least once this summer. I, alas, am not making it with rhubarb from my own garden just yet. However, there is hope since the rhubarb root I planted two years ago have finally started blooming which means I’ll have rhubarb of my own to harvest soon enough!
Now that we’ve fully recovered from Halloween season — it really is a whole season, the events take up the whole month of October — I am buckling down for the holidays. This year I am feeling cozy and in the mood to nest. We’ve been having lots of people over lately and I’ve been focusing on comfort food and seasonal fruit desserts. A recent favorite is this super duper easy pear crumble. It is loaded up with fall spices and tons of delicious fruit. The top is crispy and crumbly and brimming with caramelized fruit juices.
Holiday baking is hands down my favorite fall tradition. I cherish the time I get to spend in the kitchen with my children. We are always so happy to spend afternoons cutting out cookies and decorating them with all sorts of fun sprinkles and frosting. Lately we’ve also gotten into making breakfast treats like muffins and scones to serve our friends and family when they come over.
When we were in Cooperstown over the Fourth of July my mother made this great Tomato Bacon & Farro salad. It was light and flavorful and perfect for serving room temperature with our coffee-rubbed steak. I want to share it with you today because it is a great one to have in your back pocket for summer entertaining. In fact, it would even be easy to take on the go with friends to a picnic or potluck. Pulling it together is very easy and I highly recommend giving it a try at least once this summer. You won’t be disappointed!
I’ll be out of town for Memorial Day this year so I am sharing my very favorite for the season with you right now. Berry season is just beginning here in Connecticut and when it comes around I am all about the strawberry shortcake. It is so. darn. good. Of course, you all know how to make shortcake, of course, but here is my special twist: lemon pastry cream. You guys, it is so much better than basic whipped cream and tastes incredible.
It only seemed appropriate to introduce this delicious recipe from the Cinco de Mayo chapter of my latest book, The Family Calendar Cookbook: From Birthdays to Bake Sales Good Food to Get You Through the Year, with my friends at OXO. They make the best everyday cooking tools and I am huge fan of using them when I make this dish. Today I am giving away a bundle of them along with a signed cookbook!
Over the weekend we celebrated my husband’s birthday. In keep with tradition I made him a cake. My kids were slightly disappointed that this chocolate cake wasn’t as kid-friendly as last year. But, they still had plenty of Easter candy to enjoy so I really didn’t feel guilty. The original cake recipe is adapted from Molly’s famous rich and fudgy wedding cake recipe. I’ve tweaked it by adding a generous nip of kahlua and an extra topping of whipped cream. It takes very little time to prepare and is perfect for any celebration.
Spring and summer entertaining season is on the horizon and that means one thing: showers. As in, baby showers, bridal showers, and engagement showers. So many showers! I personally love showers of all kinds and have thrown quite a few myself. In doing so I’ve learned a few things along the way as well. First: have a standby menu. It is best to have a few standards you can riff on: chicken salad, quiche, punches, bon bons, and a solid dessert nibble. For a baby shower you might do a big cake too, but I find having a bite size dessert on hand is always an excellent idea. Which is where my Lemon Raspberry Jam bars come in.